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Conditions & Treatments

Incomplete Bladder Emptying

Some women do not empty their bladders completely, and this can cause urinary frequency or recurrent urinary infections. Normally, the bladder should have less than 50 milliliters of urine leftover after you empty it. It can vary based on how relaxed you are, if you are sitting or squatting, or if you have been holding it for a long period of time.

Dr. Kumar can check via a catheterization or ultrasound to see how well you empty. Often, women who have severe overactive bladder problems feel that they don’t empty because they need to urinate very soon after they have just been in the bathroom. It is important to check to make sure you are emptying prior to being treated for overactive bladder.

Other women may not empty the bladder well because of poor bladder contractility, or hypertonic pelvic floor muscles. In some instances there can be a narrowing in the urethra, or at the opening of the urethra, and this creates a blockage of the urine flow. Urologic and other surgical procedures may also lead to problems emptying the bladder afterward.

It is important to get a thorough history, and to check a test called a postvoid residual. This is where we check how much urine is left in your bladder immediately after you urinate.

If you consistently are retaining large volumes of urine, Dr. Kumar will discuss options with you, including medication, intermittent catheterization, urethral dilation, and sacral neuromodulation.


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