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10 Tips for Temporary Urinary Retention after Hysterectomy

From the Hysterectomy Recovery Articles List

Are there some tips to getting my bladder to work again?I’ve been having trouble urinating since my hysterectomy. Are there some tips to getting my bladder to work again?


Following a hysterectomy, you may find you deal with some temporary urinary retention issues which can be uncomfortable and even painful. A combination of anesthesia, surgery, pain medications, and IV fluids can cause an interference with your bladder function, making it hard for you to start a urine stream or empty your bladder completely.

If you develop a urinary tract infection following your hysterectomy, it could cause swelling or inflammation of the urethra which can lead to some urinary retention issues. In addition, constipation after a hysterectomy may also cause some urinary retention as the hard stool pushes against the bladder and urethra.

If your bladder is being a bit hesitant, there are several tips you can try to help encourage your bladder to respond.

1. Listen to running water.


Some ladies have found that hearing running water or having water run over their fingers can help their bladder respond. To save water, you could keep a bucket in the sink to catch the water, then use the water for your plants or mopping. Remember, you should not be lifting or doing the mopping yourself!

To conserve water and be more comfortable, you could download audio recordings of running water, babbling brooks, fountains, or rainfall to listen to in the bathroom. You can try different speeds and styles to see which might work for you.

2. Use a peri-bottle to gently squeeze warm water over the external genitalia and perineum areas.


Warm water running gently over the external genitalia and perineum areas could help you begin a urine stream and even urinate longer. Be sure not to insert any water into the vagina and make sure the water is warm and not hot or cold.

3. Hold a hot water bottle or heating pad on your tummy.


Because heat can relax the muscles, holding a hot water bottle or heating pad on your tummy between your bellybutton and pubic bone for several minutes could help your bladder relax so you can urinate. If you have an incision in this area, ask your doctor before placing a heading pad or hot water bottle over the area.

4. Urinate in the shower.


Because warmth, the feeling of running water on the genitalia and perineum, and hearing running water can all help with urination, sometimes just a shower can do the trick. Simply allow your body to relax as the warm water flows over your body, then urinate once your bladder relaxes. You can rinse yourself and the shower when you are through, but leave any deep cleaning to someone else!

5. Try cooling off.


For some people, being cold can stimulate the bladder. You can try sitting in a cool room or under a fan to cool yourself down. Putting your hands or feet in some ice water might also do the trick.

6. Relax.


You may be inadvertently clenching the muscles around the bladder, making it harder to urinate. To help you relax, sit on the toilet and close your eyes. Then take deep breaths through your nose, letting the air out slowly through your mouth. It can take a few breaths, so try to be patient.

To get those muscles to relax, you can also try to gently massage the area around between your bellybutton and your pubic bone. Use your fingers in a circular motion, but only if you do not have an incision in this area.

7. Try some peppermint oil.


A few drops of peppermint oil in the toilet water could help. The vapors can dilate the urethra so you are better able to urinate. Some women also find drinking some peppermint tea may help them relax, and it can act as a diuretic.

8. Don’t let your bladder get too full.


It can be easier to urinate more often rather than once your bladder is full. If necessary, try to urinate on a schedule to try to keep your bladder from filling too much.

9. Walk, walk, walk.


Walking following a hysterectomy can have many benefits including stimulating the bladder and helping with constipation. In the initial days of recovery, your walks may only be to the restroom or circling your living room, but walking a few minutes every few hours could help with urinary retention issues by helping your bladder and preventing constipation.

10. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids.


Following a hysterectomy, you need to be sure you are drinking plenty of fluids and water for your recovery. If you are not drinking enough, you may not be able to make enough urine. Caffeine can act as a diuretic, so having a cup of coffee, glass of tea, or can of soda could help you urinate, but caffeine can also cause bladder irritation if you overdo it.

Call your doctor.


Though temporary urinary retention can occur following a surgery, you should discuss any symptoms of it with your surgeon. Urinary retention can be a sign of a serious complication, and urinary retention that does not correct itself quickly can be very dangerous. Your doctor can help you determine if simply home remedies will do the trick or if medical intervention is necessary.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

11-10-2014 - 11:30 PM


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