Bladder outlet obstruction : Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Symptoms & Signs

The symptoms of bladder outlet obstruction may vary, but can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Continuous feeling of a full bladder
  • Delayed onset of urination (urinary hesitancy)
  • Frequent urination
  • Inability to urinate (acute urinary retention)
  • Pain on urination (dysuria)
  • Slow urine flow
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urine stream starts and stops (urinary intermittency)

Diagnosis & Tests

If bladder outlet obstruction is suspected, your health care provider will take a thorough history of your problems. During a physical exam, your provider may find one or more of the following possible causes:

  • Abdominal mass
  • Cystocele (women)
  • Distended bladder
  • Enlarged prostate (men)

Tests may include:

  • Blood chemistries to reveal kidney damage
  • Cystoscopy and retrograde urethrogram (x-ray to look for urethral narrowing)
  • Ultrasound to locate the blockage of urine, and find out how well the bladder empties
  • Urinalysis to look for blood or infection
  • Urine culture to show an infection
  • Uroflowmetry to determine how fast the urine flows out
  • Urodynamic testing to see how much the urine flow is blocked and how well the bladder contracts

Bladder outlet obstruction : Overview, Causes, & Risk

Bladder outlet obstruction : Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Bladder outlet obstruction : Treatment


Review Date : 11/30/2009
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Herbert Y. Lin, MD, PHD, Nephrologist, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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