Etiologies of acute urinary retention fall into 4 broad categories: structural, medication/ toxicologic, neurologic, and infectious. Although two-thirds of cases in men are related to prostatomegaly, there is also a high burden of concomitant morbid pathology. Acute urinary retention can also result from trauma, drug toxicity, infection, or compressive or demyelinating neurologic pathology, and these must be ruled out, particularly in women, children, and elderly patients.
Our recent review Management of Acute Urinary Retention in the Emergency Department focuses on identifying the “must-recognize” etiologies of AUR, and provides the best possible evidence-based treatment strategies for various subtypes of AUR.
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Here are a few key points:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the etiology for AUR in roughly half of cases. In women and children, AUR is often indicative of serious pathology.
- AUR can be a herald sign of toxidromes as well as evidence of severe neurologic pathology.
- The 4 major categories of causes of AUR are: (1) structural, (2) medication/toxicologic, (3) neurologic, and (4) infectious.
- Structural causes account for approximately 75% of adult cases of AUR; 67% of these are caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Last Updated on January 26, 2023