Urine Retention

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Distinguished member
Dec 12, 2006
Hello everyone,

Saturday night I had my first midnight ambulance wild ride to the ER. From about 7 PM to 8 PM I had two Scotch and waters (24 oz. total) through the PEG. About 8 PM I was feeling like I needed to pee, but couldn't. I then had my dinner (24 oz.). Still couldn't pee. I had Jen lay me flat on the bed. This has helped with similar circumstances in the past. No relief. The pain was getting pretty intense, so Jen gave me an Adivan (dissolved in water) to help my relax. About 11 PM I was seeing spots from the pain, and decided it was time to go to the hospital. Jen tried to get me into my chair, but the pain was too intense. We had to call 911. At the ER they inserted a Foley Catheter and I began to feel relief as 1 1/ 2 liters of urine drained from my body. Has anyone else experienced something similar?

Mike...Yikes....what a saturday night! Glad you are okay....
My husband Shannon (also a weekend scotch lover!) gets urinary retention from his amitriptyline...could it be any drugs you are on?
He only takes 50 mg/night now and it isnt so bad, but previously he was taking 75--150 mg this past fall and it caused problems. Never so severe as yours. He just wouldnt be able to pee for many many hours and then he would go about 28-30 ozs or so at once. He didnt really have pain from it, but some discomfort. When we cut back the amitriptyline it resolved.
Peace, Love, and Glen Livet, Beth (CALS to Shannon, diagnoseded 8/04 at age 40)
Hi Mike-glad you're back and OK. I remember my father-in-law having trouble like that once and it was quite painful, as I recall. Hope some of the guys (or ladies) can offer some tips to prevent it form happening again! All my best, Cindy
Mike -

Didn't the docs have some idea whats caused this? I hope it isn't something stupid like kidney stones.

Hi Mike,

I take online classes, so I have time to "investigate" some things and decided to see why this may have happened to you. I found this website, maybe you will want to check it out. It may have been from the alcohol, but don't forget your prostate!

Factors associated with acute urinary retention include the following:

* Alcohol consumption
* Allergy or cold medications containing decongestants or antihistamines
* Certain prescription drugs (e.g., ipratropium bromide, albuterol, epinephrine) that cause the urethra to narrow
* Delaying urination for a long time
* Long period of inactivity or bed rest
* Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures
* Spinal cord injury/nerve damage
* Surgery (e.g., complication of anesthesia)
* Urinary system obstruction (e.g., BPH, kidney stones)
* Urinary tract infection
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I hope you're feeling better.

I'm sorry to hear about your ride to the ER. I had a similar experience, and before I went into surgery the doctor said " unfortunately just because you have ALS it doesn't make you a immune to anything else". It made me laugh.
In late summer of 2005, just out of the blue with no warning I started having pain when I urinated. The pain was consistent, and then there was blood, time to go to the doctor. He thought I might have some kind of bladder infection. Did some blood work, and an ultrasound of my bladder, and of course checked my prostate. They didn't really find anything, and I was leaving on a trip to Idaho the following day. I figured that what ever they found they could tell me about it over the phone and I can go see a doctor, and get whatever prescription I needed filled up there. Couple days later I phoned the doctor, they didn't find anything and suggested I come in for recheck. The following morning while I was still in Idaho, I had severe pain in the morning, and couldn't urinate. I felt as though I had to go real bad, and sat on the toilet for almost 2 hours in pain. All of a sudden the pain went away, but I still had blood in my urine. I self diagnose myself, and decided I had a bladder infection and needed a strong antibiotic. So up in Idaho I got one and started taking it. The bleeding cleared up within 24 hours. But the pain returned. So I decided to start driving home, straight home. The following morning I was in severe pain, and sitting on the pot again. After about three hours of this, (and yes I am a knucklehead) my wife took me to the ER. This was my first trip to the ER in about 15 years. Some things never change, emergency rooms here in California are excruciatingly slow. I arrived there at approximately 10 o'clock am. I was in their bathroom for approximately 2 hours before the doctor came to see me. They did an ultrasound of my bladder, and gave me a shot of morphine, didn't touch the pain. They gave me another shot of morphine about an hour later. Still no relief. And the ultrasound showed an empty bladder. At around two o'clock they gave me another shot of morphine. Still no relief. At around three o'clock they gave me a shot of Toradol, (I'm not sure how that's spelled). They decided to wheel me in for a CAT scan, within 15 minutes the pain was gone. By the end of the CAT scan I felt good enough to get out of there. They wheeled me back to my room in the ER. At about five o'clock or so, there were a number of doctors around me. One of the doctors began to explain to me what had happened. Evidently I had a birth defect, I had two tubes coming out of my left kidney, the kidney was plugged and the tubes were infected. so they admitted me into the hospital at approximately 6 p.m. I went into surgery that night and they fixed me up. Afterwords the doctor told me that my left kidney was plugged up with calcium. He left a stint in for about two weeks, the stint was about 20 inches long. At the follow-up visit two weeks later, the doctor sent me for an x-ray to verify the location of the stint. The stint had gone back in me, and was no longer hanging out. The doctor wanted to use a tool to fish it out, I declined that procedure and told him that when I urinate I can see it, so I'll pull it out myself. He agreed, and showed me what it looked like and how long it was, and how much drag it should have when pulling it out. I went home, went immediately into the bathroom, and pulled it out myself. That was not fun, although I should have had my wife videotaped it, so I could gross out my sons. :-D anyway, you haven't lived until you've pulled one of those out :-D I sure hope you're feeling better, and remember the magic word "Toradol" it worked for me.

disclaimer; Michael is a professional ALS patient, "Do not try any of this at home"
Hi Mike,

I'm having the same problem, and the doctor gave me a Bard Urological Catheter, and Surgilube surgical lubricant, that I can use when I can't go number one. You could have your wife use this, and you would never have to go to the ER again. It does hurt a lot though, when the catheter goes into and passes your prostate gland. Here is a photo of my catheter. Hope this helps, I know how painful it can be.



  • Catheter.jpg
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Thanks everyone for your input. Unfortunately, the ER staff was not to chatty. When we were finally released at 4 AM, I got the impression they had been awake as many hours as we had. I am still sporting the Foley catheter, and have an appointment with a Urologist on the 13th. We should learn more then. I don't think it was a kidney stone because the pain let up as soon as the pressure was gone, and it has not returned.

Good luck with that Mike. I hope you don't have to repeat that experience any time soon.

It's good to see there is a nice long list of other things to rule out before you give up the scotch. :wink:

Give up Scotch? Yikes! Now that would be REALLY unfair! :-D Cindy
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