What causes decreased urine output? 34 possible conditions

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What Is Decreased Urine Output?

Oliguria is the medical term for a decreased output of urine. This is clinically defined as an output of below 400 millilitres (~16 ounces) of urine over the course of 24 hours.

If you are still urinating in any amount, you are experiencing oliguria. On the other hand, the complete absence of urine is known as anuria and is defined as an output of less than 50 millilitres in a 24-hour period.

What Causes a Decreased Urine Output?

Many things can cause oliguria, or a decreased urine output. These range from temporary conditions to more serious illnesses.

Dehydration

Dehydration is the most common cause of decreased urine output. Typically, dehydration occurs when you are ill with diarrhea, fever, or another sickness and cannot replace the fluids that you are losing and your kidneys retain as much fluid as possible.

Infection

Infection is a less typical cause of oliguria. A severe infection can lead the body to go into shock, which reduces the blood flow to your organs. Shock is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

Urinary Tract Obstruction

A urinary tract obstruction, or blockage, occurs when urine cannot leave your kidneys. This can affect one or both kidneys and usually results in a decreased urine output. A blockage can also cause other symptoms, such as body pain, nausea, vomiting, swelling, and fever.

Medications

Some medications may cause you to release less urine. Medicines that are known to possibly cause this condition include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), high blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors), and gentamicin (a type of antibiotic).

If your medication is causing you to release less urine, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor. He or she may change your medication or adjust your current dosage. Never change your dosage or stop taking a medication without first consulting your doctor.

When to Seek Medical Care

You should always alert your doctor to your condition if you experience decreased urine output.

You should seek emergency attention if you feel that your body may be going into shock. This could be due to a serious infection or trauma that needs quick medical treatment.

You should also seek immediate medical help if you think your urinary tract may be blocked by an enlarged prostate or other condition. This can quickly develop into anuria, which will require immediate treatment to prevent serious damage to the kidneys.

Call your doctor right away if you have a decreased urine output along with:

  • dizziness
  • rapid pulse
  • light-headedness

How Is a Decreased Urine Output Treated?

There are no self-treatment options for a decreased urine output. Medical attention is always required to identify the cause and provide the most appropriate treatment.

During your appointment, your doctor will ask you a number of questions before making a diagnosis. He or she will probably want to know when the decreased output began, whether it occurred suddenly, and if it has gotten any worse since it started.

It may help if you know approximately how much you drink each day, whether drinking more increases your urine output, and how much urine you produce each day.

The doctor may need you give a urine sample (or at least try). The sample will be analyzed for its color, protein, and uric acid levels and tested for infection.

Make sure to tell your doctor about any other symptoms that you have, any medications or herbal supplements that you take, and whether you have a history of problems with your kidneys or bladder.

Once your doctor has spoken to you, he or she may require additional tests. These could include:

  • blood tests
  • CT scans
  • abdominal ultrasounds
  • renal scans

Your treatment will depend on the cause of your oliguria. Your doctor may prescribe an IV drip that quickly rehydrates your body or dialysis to help remove toxins until your kidneys can work correctly again.

What Is the Outcome of Untreated Decreased Urine Output?

The outcome for oliguria depends on the cause. Most cases require medical treatment and will only worsen without it.

Left untreated, it is possible that decreased urine output can cause cardiovascular complications, such as hypertension or heart failure, anaemia, platelet dysfunction, and gastrointestinal problems.

How Can Decreased Urine Output Be Prevented?

In general, when decreased urine output is caused by a medical condition, it cannot be prevented. However, the most common cause of this symptom is dehydration, which can be avoided by ensuring that you remain hydrated at all times. Be sure to increase your fluid intake whenever you have a fever, diarrhea, or other sickness. You may also want to use special drink mixes to replace any electrolytes lost during this time and prevent oliguria.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

End-Stage Kidney Disease

End-stage kidney disease is the final stage of kidney disease. Signs include an inability to urinate, headache, change in skin color, excessive thirst, and swelling in the legs and hands.

Read more »

2

Hypovolemic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Hypovolemic shock is a life-threatening condition that results when you lose more than 20 percent (one-fifth) of your body's blood or fluid supply. This severe fluid loss makes it impossible for the heart to pum...

Read more »

3

Urethral Stricture

The urethra is a tube that helps expel urine from body. When the urethra narrows, it's known as a urethral stricture. Abdominal pain, urge to urinate, and swelling are signs.

Read more »

4

Dehydration

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you drink. The most common cause of water loss from the body is excessive sweating. Headaches, dizziness, and decreased urination are symptoms.

Read more »

5

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys lose the ability to sufficiently filter waste from the blood. Many factors can interfere with kidney health and function, such as toxic exposure to environmental pollutants an...

Read more »

6

Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis occurs when blood filtering vessels in the kidneys are damaged. This may contribute to kidney failure, which causes fatigue, insomnia, itchy skin, and other symptoms.

Read more »

7

Obstructive Uropathy

Obstructive uropathy is a condition in which your urine flow is blocked, and backs up into the kidneys. IIt may be caused by a blockage in one of the ureters - the tube that channels urine between the bladder and th...

Read more »

8

Heart Failure

Right-side heart failure occurs when the right ventricle can't properly pump blood to your lungs to collect oxygen. Excessive fatigue, shortness of breath and abdominal bloating are signs.

Read more »

9

Acute Nephritis

Think of your kidneys as your body's filters, a sophisticated waste removal system comprised of two bean-shaped organs. Every day, your hard working kidneys process 200 quarts of blood in a day and remove two quarts o...

Read more »

10

Chronic prostatitis

Chronic prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. The prostate is a small gland located below a man's bladder. It surrounds the urethra and produces most of the fluid in semen. Prostatitis may be caused by ...

Read more »

11

The Deadly Potential of Digitalis: Digitalis Toxicity

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Digitalis toxicity (DT) occurs when you take too much digitalis (also known as digoxin or digitoxin), a medication used to treat heart conditions. Signs of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, and an irregular heartbeat...

Read more »

12

Septicemia

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Septicemia is also known as bacteremia or blood poisoning. Septicemia occurs when a bacterial infection enters the bloodstream. Untreated septicemia can quickly progress to sepsis, which is a serious complication of a...

Read more »

13

Peritonitis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

You have a thin layer of tissue covering the inside of your abdomen and most of its organs. This is called the peritoneum . Inflammation of the peritoneum is called peritonitis. The inflammation is caused by a fungal o...

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14

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a complex condition in which a buildup of broken-down blood cells leads to serious kidney damage. Infections of the gastrointestinal tract (your stomach and intestines) are the mos...

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15

Cardiogenic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Cardiogenic shock is a state where the heart has been damaged to the point where it is unable to supply enough blood to the organs of the body. As a result of the failure of the heart to pump enough nutrients to th...

Read more »

16

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition that affects the chambers of your heart. You have four heart chambers: two atria in the upper half of the heart and two ventricles in the lower half. Th...

Read more »

17

Hepatorenal Syndrome

Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a type of progressive kidney failure. As the kidneys stop functioning, toxins begin to build up in the body. Eventually, this leads to liver failure. It is only seen in people with sever...

Read more »

18

Cholera

Cholera is a serious bacterial disease that can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration. The disease is usually spread through contaminated water. Immediate treatment is necessary because death can occur within hours i...

Read more »

19

Septic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Septic shock is what happens as a complication of an infection where toxins can initiate a full-body inflammatory response. It often occurs in people who are elderly or have a weakened immune system. It is thought tha...

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20

Bleeding Esophageal Varices

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Bleeding esophageal varices occur when swollen veins (varices) in your lower esophagus, the muscular tube that connects your mouth with your stomach, rupture and bleed due to excess pressure. This condition constitute...

Read more »

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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