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Practitioner 2011; 255 (1739): 21-23

Managing patients with acute urinary retention

18 Apr 2011Pais-up subscribers

Acute urinary retention (AUR) is a common urological emergency. AUR is more than ten times more common in men than women. AUR in men tends to occur in the elderly and the risk of AUR is higher in men > 70 years. Those in this age group have a 10% risk of developing AUR over a five-year period. The incidence of AUR is low in the general male population of 45 years or older.  However, in almost 50% of AUR patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia/lower urinary tract symptoms (BPH/LUTS), AUR was their first symptom. GPs can play a major role in identifying patients who need assessment for BPH/LUTS and starting early treatment with pharmacotherapy. Health education should address the importance of compliance with medication and patients should be followed up to reduce the risk of AUR and surgical intervention. Urological intervention may only be required in cases where specialised assessment or treatment is needed and in patients where catheter insertion has failed during an episode of AUR.

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