Why Do I Have Bladder Retention After a General Anesthesia?


You face the risk of health complications if you undergo general anesthesia. Your doctor will warn you about them, but they include mental confusion, heart attack and problems with bladder retention.

General Anesthesia

  • Administered through inhaled gasses or intravenous drugs, general anesthesia is a treatment that puts you to sleep. Your brain will not register pain or remember what is happening, states the Mayo Clinic.

Bladder Retention

  • According the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, bladder retention, or urinary retention, means you are unable to empty your bladder of urine.


  • Bladder retention occurs after general anesthesia because your bladder is too distended from the intravenous fluids you received during your procedure to empty properly. It also can be caused by swelling around the bladder neck.

Risk Factors

  • Bladder retention is more likely to happen after major surgeries and is most common in men and older patients.


  • Bladder retention after general anesthesia is temporary. Until you regain urinary control, you can empty your bladder by using a catheter.

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