Decreased Urine Output

The body removes toxins and waste from the body through several processes including urination. Ideally, you body should rerelease a given amount of urine on a daily basis deepening on the amount of water and other drinks you take. When you notice a decrease or increase in urine output, then it could be as a result of a medical condition.

Oliguria or decreased urine output is a medical condition that causes your body to produce less than 400 ml of urine per day. This condition should not be confused with those that make one fails to urinate at all or anuria where your produce less than 50 mm or urine per day.

Decreased Urine Output

Low urine or no urine output can occur when you have kidney failure or urinary obstruction. When kidney failure occurs, the kidneys lose the ability to control electrolytes and fluids and get rid of waste from the body. The production of red blood cells is also affected since it is normally driven by a substance produced in the kidneys.

  • If the condition is caused by kidney failure, it can be acute or chronic. Chronic renal failure is a progressive condition that is caused by poorly managed hypertension or diabetes.  
  • Urinary obstruction or urinary tract blockage can be caused by an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, a tumor in the bladder, or kidney stones in both kidneys.
  • Low urine output can also be caused by the decrease in blood supply to the kidneys, which normally happens when you’re dehydrated or experiencing excessive blood loss. Dehydration can be caused by inadequate intake of water, vomiting, fever or diarrhea.
  • Medication – Diuretics, anticholinergics, and various antibiotics can lead to a decrease in urine output. Medication used to treat high blood pressure can lead to oliguria.
  • Heart complication – this is where the heart is not able to pump sufficient amounts of blood to the kidneys.
  • Kidney damage and diseases – autoimmune disorders such as lupus whereby the person’s immune system attacks their body can cause this. It could also be as a result of tubular necrosis, which is caused by injury to the kidney as a result of low blood pressure and other causes.

Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited problem that can cause kidney failure. It can also be as a result of glomerulonephritis. This is an inflammation of structures in the kidneys called glomeruli. They are made up of tiny blood vessels. The symptoms include foamy urine, cola or pink colored urine, high blood pressure and fluid retention with swelling in the hands, face, abdomen and feet.

  • Rarely it can be caused by a medical condition or severe infection which lead to shock

When to contact medical professional:

Decreased urine output is often caused by an underlying medical condition. For this reason, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. See a doctor if you:

  • Have less urine than normal
  • Have diarrhea, vomitting, or fever which prohibits you from getting enough fluids
  • Experience lightheadedness, dizziness or a fast pulse along with low urine output

What to Expect from Your Visit to the Doctor

Apart from the physical exam, your doctor might want to know the following:

  • When you first noticed the problem and whether it has changed over time
  • Any changes in urine color
  • How much you drink and how much urine you pass on a daily basis
  • Anything that eases symptoms of makes them worse
  • Whether there are accompanying symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and fever
  • Any medicines you could be taking
  • Whether you have a history of bladder and kidney problems

The following tests could be done:

  • Ultrasound of the abdomen
  • CT scan
  • Renal scan
  • Blood tests for blood count, kidney function and electrolytes.

How to Treat This Condition

The treatment for decreased urine output usually depends on the cause. As a stop gap measure, a catheter may be placed in the urinary bladder to help with measurement of urine output. If the condition is severe, you might be hospitalized and given fluids through a drip if you’re dehydrated. 

You might be required to stop taking any drugs that are toxic to the kidneys. If at all there is a problem with the kidneys, you might need dialysis.

Home Care

You should make a point of taking lots of fluid as recommended by your dietician. You might also be required to take note of the amount of urine your produce on a daily basis. Below are more things to be done for your kidney health:

  • Limit salt intake – Avoid eating foods with added salt. This includes canned soups, frozen dinners and fast foods. Other foods you might want to steer clear of are canned vegetables, salty snack foods, and processed cheeses and meats.
  • Opt for lower potassium foods – You may be advised to avoid food rich in potassium. This includes oranges, bananas, spinach, bananas and tomatoes. Some low potassium foods you can opt for include apples, carrots, cabbage, grapes, green beans and blueberries. You should also avoid salt substitutes as most of them contain potassium.
  • Eat small portions of protein – Consult a dietician to recommend the amount of protein you should be eating per day. Foods rich in protein include eggs, lean meats, cheese, milk and beans.

In Babies and Toddlers

Kids can also suffer from decreased urine output. For this reason, it is important to monitor your child’s urination habits. Even the slightest indication of decreased urine output should be enough to raise red flags. When caught early, this condition is easy to treat.

The condition is caused by the same factors that cause it in adults. You should make a point of making sure your child is well hydrated at all times. Flu can cause diminished urination in kids. This is because it causes dehydration.

When a child is dehydrated, they might pass darkened urine, have a dry mouth, sunken eyes and persistent thirst. Children are also susceptible to urinary tract infection which causes burning, itching and pain. The child will also have a strong urge to urinate with minimal output. 

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