Reference Index - Symptoms

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Female urinary tract
Female urinary tract

Male urinary tract
Male urinary tract

Urine output - decreased


Decreased urine output is defined as producing less than 500 milliliters of urine in 24 hours.

Alternative Names:



Although a significant decrease in urine output may indicate a serious, even life-threatening condition, adequate urine output can be restored with prompt medical treatment.

Common Causes:
  • Dehydration due to vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, with a lack of adequate fluid intake
  • Total urinary tract obstruction, such as from an enlarged prostate
  • Severe infection or any other medical condition leading to shock
  • Use of certain medications such as anticholinergics, methotrexate, and diuretics

Home Care:

Follow prescribed fluid regimens and measure urine output as directed.

Call your health care provider if:

Contact your health care provider if you have:

  • A noticeable and consistent decrease in urine output
  • Vomiting , diarrhea, or high fever and are unable to replace fluids by mouth
  • A decrease in urine output associated with dizziness, lightheadedness, or rapid pulse

What to expect at your health care provider's office:

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:

  • Time pattern
    • When did this begin?
    • Did it occur suddenly?
    • Has it rapidly become worse?
  • Quality
    • How much do you drink each day?
    • Does drinking more increase your urine output?
    • How much urine do you produce each day?
    • What color is the urine?
  • Aggravating factors
    • Has there been fever ?
    • Has there been diarrhea?
    • Has there been vomiting? With or without nausea?
    • Is thirst decreased?
    • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Other
    • What medications do you take?
    • Do you have any allergies?
    • Do you have access to adequate fluids?
  • Medical history
    • Have you had any recent injuries such as burns?
    • Have you been sick?
    • Do you have a history of a problem with your kidneys or bladder?

Tests that may be done include:



Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and the urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 3.

Molitoris BA. Acute kidney injury. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 121.

Review Date: 9/30/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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