Oliguria is the medical term for a decreased output of urine. Oliguria
is considered to be a urinary output of less than 400 milliliters, which is
less than about 13.5 ounces, over the course of 24 hours.
The absence of urine is known as anuria. Less than 50 milliliters,
or less than about 1.7 ounces, of urine in a 24-hour period is considered to be
What Causes Oliguria?
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 that 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. This 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 can’t
leave your kidneys. This can affect one or both kidneys and usually results in
a decreased urine output. Depending on how fast the obstruction occurs, a
blockage can also cause other symptoms, such as:
- body pain
Some medications may cause you to produce less urine. Medicines
that are known to possibly cause this condition include nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), high blood pressure medications, such as
angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and gentamicin, which is an
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 your dosage or stop taking a
medication without first consulting your doctor.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
You should always alert your doctor if you experience decreased
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 conditions 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, or lightheadedness.
How Is Oliguria Diagnosed?
There are no self-treatment options for a 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 a number of
questions before making a diagnosis. They’ll 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 liquid you drink
each day. You should also know whether drinking more increases your urine
output and how much urine you produce each day.
Your doctor may need you to give a urine sample or at least 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 that you
have, any medications or herbal supplements that you take, and whether you have
a history of problems with your kidneys or bladder.
Your doctor may require additional tests. These could include:
- blood tests
- CT scans
- abdominal ultrasounds
- renal scans
What Are the Treatment Options for Oliguria?
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.
have a fever, diarrhea, or
other illness. You may also want to use special drink mixes to replace any
electrolytes lost during this time and prevent oliguria.
What Is the Long-Term Outlook?
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:
- heart failure
- platelet dysfunction
- gastrointestinal problems
Most cases require medical treatment. Speak with your doctor as
soon as you experience oliguria to develop a treatment plan that works best for
How Can I Prevent Oliguria?
In general, you can’t prevent decreased urine output when it’s
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.