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Urine output - decreased

Decreased urine output means that you produce less urine than normal. Most adults make at least 500 ml of urine in 24 hours (a little over 2 cups).

Alternative Names

Oliguria

Causes

Common causes include:

  • Dehydration from not drinking enough fluids and having vomiting, diarrhea, or fever
  • Total urinary tract blockage, such as from an enlarged prostate
  • Medicines such as anticholinergics, diuretics, and some antibiotics

Less common causes include:

  • Blood loss
  • Severe infection or other medical condition that leads to shock

Home Care

Drink the amount of fluid your health care provider recommends.

Measure the amount of urine you produce if your health care provider tells you to.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

A large decrease in urine output may be a sign of a serious condition. In some cases it can be life-threatening. Most of the time, urine output can be restored with prompt medical care.

Contact your health care provider if:

  • You notice that you are producing less urine than usual.
  • You are vomiting, have diarrhea, or have a high fever and cannot get enough fluids by mouth.
  • You have dizziness, lightheadedness, or a fast pulse with decreased urine ouput?

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions such as:

  • When did the problem started and has it changed over time?
  • How much do you drink each day and how much urine do you produce?
  • Have noticed any change in urine color?
  • What makes the problem worse? Better?
  • Have you had vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or other symptoms of illness?
  • What medicines do you take?
  • Do you have a history of kidney or bladder problems?

Tests that may be done include:

References

Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 3.

Molotoris BA. Acute kidney injury. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 122.

Updated: 12/27/2013

Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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