Treatment Options for Urinary Retention

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There are several treatment options for urinary retention and bladder problems, including Medtronic’s innovative InterStim® Therapy. InterStim has been used to treat more than 100,000 people worldwide since 1994. If your life has been disrupted by bladder problems and other treatments have not worked well or have caused intolerable side effects, talk to your doctor about how you can gain back control.

Behavioural Techniques

Some people can reduce the symptoms of urinary retention by simple lifestyle changes such as:

  • Using the “double voiding” technique, in which you wait a short time after you have emptied your bladder and then have another try
  • Biofeedback to aid you to feel when it’s time to go to the toilet resulting in the bladder not getting too full
  • Bladder retraining and pelvic muscle exercises to help the nerves and muscles involved in emptying the bladder work better.


Medications may be prescribed by your doctor to help control the symptoms of your bladder control problem. There are various types of medications used for urinary retention problems: some focus on the muscles that control urination, others work to reduce the cause of obstruction.

Sacral Neuromodulation

Doctors may recommend sacral neuromodulation (InterStim Therapy) for those people who have not found the standard treatments to be helpful. This reversible treatment uses a small neurostimulator that is implanted in your body. The neurostimulator sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves to reduce your symptoms.


A catheter is a flexible tube inserted into your bladder to drain it. If your urinary retention condition is mild, your doctor can show you how to insert the catheter to alleviate your condition temporarily. In cases when your urinary retention is severe, your doctor will need to insert a permanent catheter in order to drain your bladder.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 7 Mar 2013

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