Urinary obstruction or urinary retention is a common problem found in men. It is in fact one of the most common of the several urinary problems. Almost every person has suffered from the condition at some time or the other, to a lesser or greater extent. Hence it is necessary to become properly acquainted with this condition and to know of its treatment methods.
About one in every thousand people develops serious complications from urinary obstruction. The problem of urinary retention can be easily controlled and so it is not always life-threatening. People with the problem can live up to a ripe old age. However, the issue is still serious considering the total number of people affected and the lack of information on the subject.
Urinary obstruction is plainly defined as any obstacle in the flow of urine from the excretory system. It is an umbrella term that covers various aspects of urinary blockage, which can be manifested as intermittent urination, dribbling urination, suppressed urination and urine retention within the bladder. Painful urination, i.e. dysuria, and absence of urination, i.e. enuresis, are also sometimes included under the term ‘urinary obstruction’.
Medically, urinary obstruction is also termed as ischuria. In Ayurveda , urinary obstruction is termed as moothra ghaata. It is treated as a complication of the Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, which is abbreviated to as BPH. BPH is a problem of the prostate gland in which there is an excessive growth of normal cells in the prostate gland. BPH should not be confused with prostate cancer, as in cancer the cells that grow are abnormally produced. Moothra ghaata occurs when the cells of the prostate gland increase beyond a particular limit.
There are different types of urinary obstruction depending on several factors. The following points classify different types of urinary obstruction:-
(i) Urinary obstruction can be unilateral or bilateral.
(ii) Urinary obstruction can be acute or chronic.
(iii) Urinary obstruction can be of the upper excretory system or the lower excretory system.
As already described above, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is one of the most major causes of moothra ghaata in men. Apart from this, there are other factors leading to urinary obstruction, which are as mentioned below:-
Prostate cancer causes retention of urine. This is a very serious condition, generally leading to death.
Kidney and urinary stones are one of the prime causes of urinary obstruction in men.
Some children have congenital defects in their urinary systems, especially in the urethra. This is another cause of urinary obstruction. This condition can be surgically corrected.
In children who are circumcised, there may be complaints of urinary obstruction for a short period after the circumcision is done.
Any infection in the urinary system, like Chlamydia and gonorrhea, can cause urinary retention.
Inflammations of the urinary system, like prostatitis, urethritis, epididymitis, pyelonephritis and cystitis, are responsible for urine retention.
Degeneration of the kidneys can cause urinary retention.
In women, a type of urinary retention is caused if the pelvic organs are lower in the abdomen than normal.
Smoking also exacerbates urinary obstruction.
Ayurveda treats urinary obstruction as a disease caused due to vitiated vata dosha. Vata dosha is the humor that controls the air element of the human body. When this dosha is vitiated, then it causes BPH, which is a precursor to urinary obstruction.
There are several symptoms of urinary obstruction, which depend on the cause of the condition. The following are some of the most commonly observed symptoms:-
Total absence of urination (enuresis)
Pain or burning sensation during urination (dysuria)
Pain after urinating
Intermittent flow of urine, and inability to maintain a steady flow
Abnormal dribbling of urine at the beginning or at the end
Hesitancy in beginning the flow of urine
Feeling of a full bladder even after urination
Frequent urge of urination
Urine with bad odor and dark color
Blood observed in the urine
Several people around the world are prone to urinary obstruction. The following are some of the most important risk factors:-
Men are more susceptible to suffer from urinary retention than women. This is because the major cause of urinary retention is due to the prostate gland, which is found exclusively in men.
Smoking increases the chances of urinary obstruction. Hence, smokers are at a higher risk than nonsmokers.
Children who have urethral congenital defects are at a much higher risk of developing urinary obstructive symptoms.
People who practice unsafe sex with multiple partners can contract STDs such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia infection. In such people, urinary obstruction is rampant.
People whose diet is low in water and fresh fruits are also vulnerable. For a full list on what to eat and what not to eat, read the following topics.
People who lead a stagnant lifestyle without much exercise can suffer from urinary obstruction. This is because, in such people, the blood accumulates in certain portions of the body and there is no proper circulation of the blood.
People who are on antidepressants, antihistamines and allopathic medicines such as pseudo ephedrine are at a great risk of contracting urinary obstruction symptoms.
Pregnant women are at a high risk of developing urinary obstruction during the tenure of their pregnancy. Some women continue having the condition even after the child has been born.
Urinary obstruction is a symptom and not a condition itself. Hence, the presence of urinary obstruction means that there is some more complicated underlying issue with the urinary system. For this reason, urinary retention must be quickly given medical attention and be remedied.
Furthermore, when urine is retained, it flows back into the kidneys. As a result, urea collects into the kidneys causing uremia. Prolonged retention of urine in the kidneys can give rise to hydronephrosis, which is a known life-threatening condition.
There are many things one can do in order to ensure that urine does not get obstructed in the body. The following are some of them:-
One must void the bladder as soon as the urge arises. At that moment, the bladder is more capable of voiding its contents fully.
People with problems of urinary retention must avoid visiting cold and damp places.
While urinating, the mind must be free of other thoughts. Concentrating on producing a urinary flow almost always brings results.
Sofas and soft chairs must be avoided. Especially men must sit on hard seats as this gently massages the prostate gland.
Smoking must be strictly avoided.
As far as possible, allopathic medicines must be curtailed. The same applies for antihistamines and antidepressants.
People with regular complaints of urinary obstruction will reap benefits if they perform simple pelvic floor exercises. Such exercises strengthen the excretory system, thus making a better urine flow possible.
Diet plays an important role in the treatment of urinary obstruction. The following are some dietary dos and don’ts for people with urinary obstruction.
Ayurveda has a very rich repertoire of treatment methods for all kinds of urinary problems. Several Indian indigenous herbs are found to be very effective in the treatment of the problem. Their curative measures are being studied even to this day, and with astounding results. The following are some of the most potent herbs with their actions on the human body:-
The following Ayurvedic preparations are highly beneficial in treating urinary obstruction problems:-
It must be borne in mind that while taking any Ayurvedic preparation, the doctor must be consulted first. Most of the herbs do not have any side-effects (and are indeed a regular part of the diet), but some people may be allergic to certain herbs and may show adverse reactions.