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Urinary Disorders

Urinary retention



My mother is retaining her urine and has now had 2 UTI`s. We have opted for the intermittent catheter to empty her out to avoid further infections. How long does it take for retaining urine to turn into an infection? How many times is it necessary to empty her out per day? Thanks.


If catheters are being passed into the bladder there will always be "some" bacteria introduced, however this should not become a clinically apparent infection unless symptoms such as burning or fever develops.

The number of times per day that the catheterization should be done depends on how much urine the patient urinates on their own. If your mother can still urinate then the catheterization should be done after and the amount measured (what is called a post void residual). In general residuals should be less than 150-200cc. If your mother cannot urinate at all then the amount should not exceed normal bladder capacity of about 300-400cc.

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Response by:

Marc F Cymes, PA Marc F Cymes, PA
Clinical Instructor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University