Home Health & Food Claims delaying urination causes kidney disease false, experts say

Claims delaying urination causes kidney disease false, experts say

by James Davies


Amarachi Okeh

Health experts have said that the claims that voluntarily holding back or delaying urination can cause kidney disease is untrue and without scientific backing.

According to the experts, there is no evidence to back such a claim, noting that only people battling urinary tract obstructions are at risk of developing kidney diseases when their urine flows backward.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the experts, Consultant Nephrologist, Dr. Babawale Bello, and a public health physician, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba said it is highly unlikely that holding back urine voluntarily can cause kidney failure.

Bello, a kidney expert with Lagos University Teaching Hospital, stated that it is unlikely that not being unable to pass urine when pressed and thus delaying it can cause kidney failure.

He, however, explained that there is a form of kidney disease caused by obstruction of the urinary tract.

A ureteral obstruction, he said, is a blockage in one or both of the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. 

According to Mayo Clinic – a medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and research, ureteral obstruction can be cured but if it’s not treated, symptoms can quickly move from mild — pain, fever, and infection — to severe — loss of kidney function, sepsis, and death.

Also, according to the experts, signs of kidney disease or failure are never seen until late, hence the need for people to regularly check their kidney function, especially persons living with hypertension, diabetes, and HIV.

Dr. Bello said, “Generally, one of the challenges of kidney diseases is that early into the condition it virtually has no symptoms and it is one of the reasons why most patients are diagnosed late.

“Early diagnosis of kidney disease requires patients to go for wellness checks. It is at that time when they are well that you can diagnose kidney disease early. 

“Oftentimes, by the time an individual is having symptoms of kidney disease, the disease itself has progressed.” 

On warning signs for kidney disease, Bello said if a person experiences urine foaming, or excessive urinating at night persistently, they could be signs of kidney issues.

Also speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Dr. Sokomba noted that if a patient with kidney infection presents to the hospital early, the condition can be treated, adding that once the disease has got to the stage where symptoms are seen, the use of dialysis would be employed and then the disease can only be managed from that point onward.

However, according to a 2022 study published online by BMC titled: ‘Comprehensive assessment of holding urine as a behavioral risk factor for UTI in women and reasons for delayed voiding’, delay in urination on a habitual basis is associated with UTI.

The study which assessed holding urine and also investigated the relationship between the frequency of UTIs and overall behavioural features, menstrual hygiene, and attitude of women towards their health issues by studying 50 women found that holding urine for a long time proved to be an important risk factor for UTI.

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