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Urinary problems post lumbar surgery

abenakiaabenaki Posts: 76
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Anybody else have any urinary problems post lumbar surgery? I am six months out from a three level fusion adn since surgery I have had an issue with frequent urination. I am now on detrol la and that is helping a ton but the doc says that it is likely from finally freeing up some nerves that weren't working properly. ANyone else have any thoughts, suggestions or similar issues?



  • a year out and have only recently started to have problems. I've got some increasing back and leg pain and have had several times lately where I just didn't think I was going to make it to the bathroom on time. (Geez, the things we tell each other here!). I have to go back to see the doc next month. If it's not better by then we'll discuss it.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • One thing you might ask about is if they would do a bladder scan. Painless, quick, not a big ole ultrasound. They would have you urinate first then do the scan to see if you had emptied your bladder completely. Maybe there is an issue with retaining urine/unable to completely empty your bladder and that's why you are going frequently. Also, checking your prostate to make sure that it is not infected(just a normal urinalysis) or swollen.

    Just a couple of first steps I can think of you might ask your doctor about. Of course tell your surgeon all of this, but you may have to work through your GP to get the tests done, if they think it's necessary.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Every since the first time they catheterized me, I've had a hard time starting a flow. And methadone has seamed to make it worse.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • My husband had a discectomy (I probably spelled that wrong LOL) a few years ago, and had the opposite problem. He couldn't urinate, they kept him in the hospital an extra day because of it. They kept waiting until he couldn't stand it, then straight cathing him, poor guy! Finally they gave him Flomax and that got him going again (not even kiddin' about the name of that med)

    I guess when they do these surgeries it can either wake up or put to sleep the nerves that are involved, according to hubby's surgeon. If it's still bothering you, talk with your doc again.

    As a side note, LOVE the pic, that's the cutest puppy!
  • My GP sent me to a urologist for flow and constant trips to the bathroom. All the tests Angie listed have been done. Those are all just fine and you can get things under control. There are various meds he can try to help. I started on Vesicare which is great for control but doesn't help flow. Makes me drowsy so I had to stop taking it. Now I'm taking Uroxatral. Helps with flow a lot and good control. No drowsy feeling.

    He also did another test last time that was very weird. Kind of like a catheter. Only instead of you peeing. They pour fluid in. Then a laser scope and check your prostate. That is a weird feeling... I don't think that part of me was made for things to go IN... ;-) lol

    The urologist says it is most likely age and less likely from the nerve impingement. But admits that may not be helping since the nerve issue is at L5/S1. So we are actually betting on whether the fusion has any affect on that.
  • Hi Kat,

    I had the very same problem as your husband after my lumbar surgery. I could not urinate at all.They were straight cathing me too and that was dreadful. They then released me with a Foley Catheter and a bag and that lasted until I saw the Urologist. He put me on Flomax and told me to self cath four times a day. He also gave me two Flomax a day and slowly I started to pass water on my own over about a three week period. I then was able give up self cathing.

    Since then, I have now reduced the Flomax to one a day. However I would like to stop the Flomax completely but my doc said that this may not be possible and if I want to try that I should be prepared to self cath again in case stopping the medication causes a problem. I have not gone down that road yet. However, I would like to know if your husband is stiil on Flomax? Please kindly let me know.


    John Blunt
  • I have a huge increase in urinating. What is SO frustating is that I feel as if I have to pee and then it like the stream wont start and then about 30-45 second I finally go. When I am finish and stand up, urine just spills out(I was gonna say out of no-where but that wouldn't be completely tur LOL) WHAT THE HECK??? I honestly get up several times a night-2-3 on a good night and 4-5 times a bad night. This just started about surgery - 4 weeks ago. Its frustrating!! GRRRRRRR!!!~

    Good luck! And keep us posted on your situation and I will do the same!
  • I have had problems as well since my surgeries. It sometimes takes me almost 2 minutes to start even if I have to go really bad like when I first wake up. Sometimes if I jiggle around a little it will help me start, LOL! Then once I get started, it stops and starts, stops and starts...like in Austin Powers when he wakes up from being frozen "evacuation comp...evacuation comp...evacuation complete". The weirdest thing for me though is that sometimes, I look at the clock and realize that I haven't peed(can i say that?) for like 12 hours and don't even feel like I have to go but then when I try, I realize that my bladder was totally full and go for what seems like forever. I drink a lot of water and even when my bladder has a few glasses of water in it, I don't always know I have to go. Lauren.
  • Following my surgery and for a period of about two or three days I could not urinate and then when they stood me up it poured out without any control from me. After that, I could not pass a single drop and I had to be straight cathed until I left the hospital fitted with a foley catheter and a bag.

    The Urologist made me self cath 4/5 times a day. THEN, My Urologist wanted to do a series of tests but when they started the tests they found that I had a water infection and the tests could not be carried out. They then put me on Flomax and now it is under control, except that I do not like some of the side effects of Flomax and I would love to be able to stop it.

    Are you on any medication and are you still having a problem?

    Have you had your prostate checked?

    I look forward to your reply.

    Take Care
    John Blunt
  • I would respectfully suggest that if you are honestly holding water in your bladder for periods of 12 hours and not emptying it fully then you are in danger of major infection. You should see a Urologist ASAP as you need to get that under control without delay. I do not want to be alarmist but I can assure that you need to act quickly.

    Please keep us informed.
    Take Care

    John B
  • I have been away for a few days so I didn't right back to everyone. Thanks for your responses. As always on this site I no longer feel alone. I have had all the tests listed above and I won't go into the other ones they did cause, trust me you don't want to go there! One more test next week. I tried Flomax and it helped a little. Now I am trying Detrol LA and it seems to help more. So now I can see that there is a likely hood that this is just nerves that need to wake up and hopefully they will. I am getting tired of feeling like I need to go every 20 minutes and then not being able to go some times. At least now I can sleep for almost four hours without going! Again thanks.

  • I assume you have seen a urologist? Be aware that meds esp. narcotics, can cause sense of urgency too...
  • You know, I never even considered that this may be a bad thing. I just figuredcougar a big bladder or something. LOL! You are so right though, I am probably running a huge risk of UTI. I wonder if that's what causes the constant pain in my lower abdomen that no one can figure out. Hmm? I am going to talk to my doctor about that first thing Monday. Thank you. Lauren.
  • That was supposed to say I figured I had a big bladder or something. Not cougar bladder or whatever that said. Omg I am laughing so hard! Lauren
  • wondering what the heck a cougar bladder was- LOL then I read your next post and laughed so hard! Thanks for that! ;o)

  • I havn't had any of these problems, but have in the past had to be strait cathed after my delivery of my almost 11 pound boy, couldn't pee at all!!! I remember thinking how miserable I was with a very very full bladder, but being afraid of the cath experience ( I was very young) but boy was that nurse ever my best friend, felt soooooooo much better, wanted to name my son after her!!! Nothing like relief after not being able to go!~!
    Hope your symptoms improve and good luck!!
  • Rachel,
    Maybe you didn't have a full bladder but a cougar bladder. LOL, just kidding. just making fun of my stupid self. 8}
  • I am so very glad that you are dealing with the situation in a sensible manner. Well done you.

    Please let us know what happens.

    Take care

    John B
  • Hi Gary,

    I'm facing the urine retention problem after spine surgery which you were facing in the year 2009.

    Can you please let me know was that ever cured if yes then how?

    Your response will be much much appreciated.

    If anybody else was facing this problem please reply to my question I will be very grateful..


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Hello imran
    This is an old discussion created by a member no longer on the forum so I am closing it.

    With help from  the link below you can search for articles on this subject or I suggest you create a new discussion using the link below

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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