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Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2001 Aug;19(3):591-619.

Acute urinary retention and urinary incontinence.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.


AUR is a commonly seen genitourinary emergency. It has many etiologies, including obstructive, neurogenic, pharmacologic, and extraurinary causes. Treatment is immediate bladder decompression by transurethral catheterization and treatment of the provoking etiology. Urinary incontinence is less commonly seen as a presenting complaint in the ED. For the emergency physician, the key lies in recognizing its underlying cause. Neurologic and pharmacologic causes need to be considered in all patients. Urinary incontinence that is not caused by a neurologic emergency can be referred for further outpatient evaluation.

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