Reader’s Question: As a guy, I don’t hear much from doctors about urine retention, even though it’s a big problem. What causes it and what can be done to correct this?
Dr. Glenn Rothfeld: There can be no more frustrating experience as a man than standing in front of the toilet, unable to fully empty your bladder. And it’s more than just a nuisance – it can actually signify more serious medical issues.
There are plenty of things that can restrict urinary flow, including a narrowing of (or damage to) the urethra, or even stones in the urinary tract.
But, by far, the most common cause of urine retention in men is prostate enlargement. When you’re dealing with a condition like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), your prostate swells and basically pinches the urethra. That restricts urinary flow and prevents full bladder emptying.
Unfortunately, the problems don’t stop there. Over time, this can cause changes to the tone of your bladder wall that can result in incontinence and other issues.
When BPH is the problem, there are some good natural solutions available. In one clinical trial, guys with BPH who took a combination of stinging nettle and saw palmetto (240mg/day of extract of nettle root, 320mg/day fatty saw palmetto extract) for 24 weeks saw a 23 per cent increase in peak urine flow.
That was six times better than guys taking a placebo.
In another study, this supplement combo performed just as well as the drug finasteride, which is commonly prescribed for BPH. You can find stinging nettle and saw palmetto at just about any health store, and they’re often combined in many prostate formulas.
Want me to answer your question next? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Urinary Retention, niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/urinary-retention/Pages/facts.aspx