My doctor says I might have bladder outlet obstruction. What does that mean?
Answers from Erik P. Castle, M.D.
Bladder outlet obstruction in men is a blockage that slows or stops urine flow out of the bladder. Bladder outlet obstruction can cause urine to back up in your system, leading to difficulty urinating and other uncomfortable urinary symptoms.
Possible causes of bladder outlet obstruction might include:
- Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — this is the most common cause of bladder outlet obstruction in men
- Scarring of the urinary channel (urethra) or bladder neck, as a result of injury or surgery
- Use of certain medications, including antihistamines, decongestants or drugs to treat overactive bladder
- Bladder stones
- Prostate cancer
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of bladder outlet obstruction is important to prevent serious problems caused by urine backing up into your system.
If you can't pass urine, emergency treatment includes insertion of a tube (catheter) through the tip of your penis and into your bladder. This tube helps urine drain from your bladder. If your condition doesn't require urgent care, your doctor might order tests, such as an ultrasound, to determine the underlying cause of your bladder outlet obstruction. Treatment might include medications or surgery.
May 21, 2014
See more Expert Answers
- McVary KT, et al. Lower urinary tract symptoms in men. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 17, 2014.
- Stone C, et al., eds. Current Diagnosis & Treatment Emergency Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=385&Sectionid=40357255. Accessed March 17, 2014.
- Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 17, 2014.
- Barrisford GW, et al. Acute urinary retention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 17, 2014.