A 16-year-old boy with acute urinary retention.
Urinary retention can be described as the inability to void volitionally despite an adequate volume of urine in the bladder. It is a common complaint in adults, especially among elderly males with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Children, in contrast, are more likely to have voluntary retention of urine due to urethral irritation or dysuria. Gently massaging the suprapubic region while the child is in a warm bath often relieves the retention in these cases. Other patients described as lazy voiders can present with acute urinary retention. These patients are typically young girls who are embarrassed to void at school. Retraining or timed voiding is often successful managing lazy voiders. However, these benign disorders should only be diagnosed after anatomical or organic causes for their symptoms have been considered and ruled out.