Anuria

Overview

What is anuria?

Anuria literally means no urine, or without urine. In practical terms, it means that your kidneys aren’t producing urine (pee) or that you aren’t peeing (anuresis). Anuria’s the most severe form of oliguria, which means that your kidneys aren’t producing enough urine. Your healthcare provider might refer to this condition as anuria or anuresis.

Measuring and testing urine can tell your healthcare provider a lot about your health. Normal urine production is more than 500 milliliters (mL) or 17 ounces (oz) per day. Oliguria is defined as having only 100 mL to 400 mL (3.3 to 13.5 oz) of urine per day and anuria (the most extreme of all of these) is defined as urine production of zero to 100 mL (0 to 3.3 oz) per day.

Anuria isn’t really a disease itself, but it’s a symptom of some other condition.

Is anuria serious?

Yes. Anuria is a medical emergency. Your kidneys are responsible for removing waste and extra fluid from your body. When the wastes and fluids build up in your body, it can be very dangerous. In fact, it can be fatal.

Symptoms and Causes

What causes anuria?

Anuria is when your kidneys don’t have enough blood or fluid supply from conditions like extreme dehydration, blood loss, severe infection, shock, or heart and liver failure. Anuria can also be caused by something affecting your kidney’s normal filtering of your blood. Some of those causes include severe shock, infections, some medications, intoxication and autoimmune diseases. Ultimately, anuria can be caused by obstruction or abnormalities in the normal urine flow after the blood has been filtered and processed by the kidneys. These post-renal causes include bladder outlet obstruction, kidney stones or an enlarged prostate gland.

What are the signs and symptoms of anuria?

The most obvious sign of anuria is not peeing. Other symptoms and signs are related to conditions that may be causing the problem.

For instance, kidney disease, liver disease and heart failure can cause you to have swollen legs and feet. They might also cause weakness or dizziness. Diabetes can also damage your kidneys.

If can’t urinate and you have any of these other symptoms, seek immediate medical care.

Management and Treatment

How is anuria treated?

Treatment for anuria depends on why you have the condition in the first place. Anuria must be treated by a healthcare professional.

When the cause of anuria is something like heart failure, sepsis, shock or respiratory failure, the first priority is to treat the condition causing the urinary issues.

If a blockage in the bladder is suspected, the treatment will be to drain the bladder using the appropriate type of catheter (tubing).

In some cases, your healthcare team may help you rehydrate by offering oral or intravenous (IV) fluids.

Prevention

How can I prevent anuria?

If you have any type of chronic illness, like diabetes or heart failure, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on staying well. This may include instructions on what and how much to eat or drink and keeping track of your weight to recognize signs of water retention early. Also, if you are throwing up and having diarrhea, try to keep up with your fluid intake.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Don’t be surprised if your healthcare provider asks questions about you and peeing. Urination is an important part of your overall health. Help yourself by keeping track of fluid intake and output if you are asked to do so. Anuria, a lack of urine, is an extreme form of oliguria, which refers to decreased urine production. Anuria is somewhat rare, but it can happen. If it does happen, you need to seek medical help.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/29/2021.

References

  • Carter CT, Brown A. Genitourinary Emergencies. In: Stone C, Humphries RL. eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Emergency Medicine, 8e. McGraw-Hill. Accessed 10/25/2021.
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Urine output. (https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/training/cme/ccm/page57297.html) Accessed 10/25/2021.
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Your Kidneys & How They Work. (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work) Accessed 10/25/2021.
  • Manzoor H, Bhatt H. Prerenal Kidney Failure. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560678/#:~:text=Prerenal%20renal%20failure%20occurs%20due,periods%20of%20increased%20energy%20demand.) [Updated 2020 Dec 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. 2021 Accessed 10/25/2021.

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