Urinary urgency

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Luke Rusowicz-Orazem, B.S.

Synonyms and keywords: urgency


Urinary urgency is a sudden, compelling urge to urinate. It is often, though not necessarily, associated with interstitial cystitis, urge urinary incontinence, polyuria and nocturia. Urinary urgency often occurs as a result of irritation and/or inflammation of the urothelium (aka the bladder wall). In interstitial cystitis, urinary frequency and urgency are the hallmark symptoms, in addition to nocturia and dyspareunia. In many cases, however, these symptoms are often exacerbated by the consumption of foods and/or beverages that are high in acid and caffeine, particularly coffees, regular teas, green teas, sodas, diet sodas and, surprisingly, fruit juices. Cranberry juice, for example, often causes extreme urgency in patients with a damaged bladder lining due to its high acid content.


Life Threatening Causes

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Congestive heart failure, Hypertension-like disorders, Stroke
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Aminohippurate, Bendrofluazide, Bumetanide, Caffeine, Canagliflozin, Cardioquin, Conivaptan, Dapagliflozin, Diuretics, Empagliflozin, Frusemide, Hydrochlorothiazide, Isosorbide, Lithium, Mannitol, Parasympatholytic drugs, Quinaglute dura-tabs, Quinalan, Quinidex, Quinidine, Quinora, Quin-release, Riboflavin, Siadh, Sorbitol
Ear Nose Throat Sjogren's syndrome
Endocrine Acromegaly, Addison's disease, Cushing's syndrome, Fanconi syndrome, Hyperaldosteronism, Hyperparathyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Hypopituitarism, Pheochromocytoma, Polydipsia
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Appendicitis, Constipation, Diverticulitis, Hyperglycaemia, Intestinal obstruction , Liver failure
Genetic Nephronophthisis type 1
Hematologic Diabetes insipidus, Diabetes mellitus, Diverticulitis, Hypercalcemia , Hyperglycaemia, Hypokalemia, Polycythemia
Iatrogenic Radiation therapy
Infectious Disease Poliomyelitis, Tabes dorsalis, Tolvaptan, Urethra infection, Urinary tract infection
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic Pelvic tumors, Spinal cord injury, Spinal cord lesions
Neurologic Ataxia, Calcification of basal ganglia , Diabetic neuropathy, Multiple sclerosis, Nephronophthisis type 1, Neurogenic bladder, Neurologic damage, Pudendal nerve entrapment , Spastic paraplegia , Stroke
Nutritional/Metabolic Diabetes insipidus, Diabetes mellitus, Excessive water consumption, Hypercalcemia , Nutrasweet
Obstetric/Gynecologic Pregnancy, Pyometra , Salpingitis, Spastic pelvic floor syndrome , Vaginitis
Oncologic Bladder cancer, Occupational cancer , Pelvic tumors, Pheochromocytoma, Squamous cell carcinoma of lung , Urethral cancer, Urinary tract neoplasm 
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity Alcohol, Caffeine
Psychiatric Anxiety
Pulmonary Emphysematous cystitis, Squamous cell carcinoma of lung 
Renal/Electrolyte Cystitis, Excessive water consumption, Glomerulonephritis, Hyperaldosteronism, Hypokalemia, Kidney cancer, Kidney stones , Medullary cystic kidney disease type 1, Medullary cystic kidney disease type 2, Polydipsia, Pyelonephritis , Renal calculus, Renal tubular acidosis
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Reiter's syndrome, Sicca syndrome, Sjogren's syndrome, Systemic lupus erythematosus
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Hemorrhoids, Spinal cord injury, Spinal cord lesions
Urologic Acute bacterial prostatitis, Benign prostate hyperplasia , Bladder calculi, Bladder cancer, Bladder distention , Bladder irritation, Bladder neck obstruction, Bladder outflow obstruction, Blocked urine flow, Chronic interstitial cystitis , Detrusor instability, Enlarged prostate , Incontinence , Interstitial cystitis , Interstitial nephritis, Median bar hypertrophy, Overactive bladder syndrome, Partial obstruction of the urinary tract, Prostatic hypertrophy, Prostatitis, Urethra infection, Urethral cancer, Urethral stricture, Urge incontinence , Urinary tract infection, Urinary tract neoplasm 
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order

Support Resource


See also


  • Katharine K. O’Dell & Sarah McGee. "Acupuncture for Urinary Urgency In Women Over 50: What Is the Evidence?". UROLOGIC NURSING - February 2006 - Volume 26 Number 1.

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