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).
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
Drink the amount of fluid your health care provider recommends.
Your provider may tell you to measure the amount of urine you produce.
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 provider if:
- You notice that you are producing less urine than usual.
- Your urine looks much darker 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 provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions such as:
- When did the problem start and has it changed over time?
- How much do you drink each day and how much urine do you produce?
- Have you 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:
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Blood tests for electrolytes, kidney function, and blood count
- CT scan of the abdomen (done without contrast dye if your kidney function is impaired)
- Renal scan
- Urine tests, including tests for infection
Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: history, physical examination, and the urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, Partin AW, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 3.
Molotoris BA. Acute kidney injury. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 120.
Reviewed By: Jennifer Sobol, DO, urologist at the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.