If you have oliguria, your kidneys are not producing enough urine. Causes can include dehydration, injury, blockage, or some medications. Treatment can depend on the cause but may include fluids through an IV drip.

Oliguria is the medical term for a decreased output of urine. If you are not producing urine, it is known as anuria. Here you’ll learn more about oliguria, its causes, and treatments.

A healthy person typically urinates about 6 times in 24 hours. The following chart indicates how much your urine output would decrease if you have oliguria or anuria.

Typical urine outputOliguriaAnuria
Adults0.5-1.5 cc/kg/hour< 500 mL/day
< 100 mL/day in adults
Childrensame as adults< less than 0.5 mL/kg per hour

same as adults
InfantsBabies should pee between 1-3 hours and 4-6 hours daily, depending on their age< 1.0 cc/kg/hour in infantssame as adults

Additional symptoms may be related to the underlying cause of your low urine output.

There are many potential causes of oliguria. These range from temporary conditions to more serious illnesses.


Dehydration is the most common cause of decreased urine output.

Typically, dehydration occurs when you’re ill with diarrhea, vomiting, or another illness and can’t replace the fluids you’re losing. When this happens, your kidneys retain as much fluid as possible.

Infection or trauma

Infection or trauma are less typical causes of oliguria. These can cause the body to go into shock, which reduces the blood flow to your organs.

Shock is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

Urinary tract obstruction

A urinary tract obstruction or blockage occurs when urine can’t leave your kidneys. This can affect one or both kidneys and usually results in decreased urine output.

This kind of obstruction can occur as a result of various conditions or diseases, such as:

Depending on how fast the obstruction occurs, a blockage can also cause other symptoms, such as:

  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • the feeling of a full bladder
  • blood in the urine


Some medications may cause you to produce less urine by damaging the kidneys.

Medicines known to possibly cause this include:

If your medication causes you to release less urine, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor. They may change your medication or adjust your current dosage.

Never change or stop taking a medication without first consulting your doctor.

You should always alert your doctor if you experience decreased urine output. If you don’t already have a healthcare professional, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

You should seek emergency medical 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 an enlarged prostate or other condition may be blocking your urinary tract. A blocked urinary tract can quickly develop into anuria. Anuria requires 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
  • lightheadedness

These can be signs of hypovolemia (low fluid in the body) or unstable blood pressure causing poor blood circulation.

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

During your appointment, your doctor will ask you several questions before making a diagnosis. They’ll probably want to know when the decreased output began, whether it occurred suddenly, and if it has worsened since it started.

It may help if you know how much liquid you drink daily. You should also know whether drinking more increases your urine output and how much urine you’re producing daily.

Your doctor may need you to give a urine sample or try. They’ll analyze it for color, protein, and uric acid levels. They’ll also test the sample for any signs of infection.

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

You may require additional tests. These could include:

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.

You may also need special drink mixes to replace any electrolytes lost during this time and prevent oliguria.

You may have to stop taking any medications that might be causing or contributing to the condition. In some cases, your doctor may also ask you to eat a specific diet.

The outlook for someone with oliguria depends on the cause of the condition. If it’s left untreated, it’s possible that decreased urine output can cause medical complications, such as:

Most cases require medical treatment. Speak with your doctor as soon as you experience oliguria to develop a treatment plan that works best for you.

Here you will find answers to additional questions on low urine output.

How can I prevent oliguria?

In general, you can’t prevent decreased urine output due to a medical condition. However, the most common cause of this symptom is dehydration. You can avoid dehydration 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.

What is the difference between anuria, oliguria, and polyuria?

Anuria is when your body does not produce any urine. Oliguria is when your body produces less urine. Polyuria is when your body produces too much urine.

How long can a person live without urinating?

The bladder can store up to 500 ml of urine in females and 700 ml in males. Unless there’s an underlying life threatening cause for low urine output, holding urine for a time will not cause immediate complications. However, holding it in for too long may cause damage to the bladder.

Learn more about how long you can go without peeing.

Oliguria means low urine output. Your kidneys can produce less urine for many reasons. Some causes are more serious than others. The most common cause is dehydration.

To avoid it, make sure to drink plenty of fluids. You may want to see a doctor for an evaluation to rule out other problems.