DEAR DR. ROACH: I am going to be 98 in July. A few months ago, I had a bad cough for weeks. My internist gave me guaifenesin with codeine. The medicine got rid of the cough, but I developed the inability to urinate. I went to the ER and they drained 2 liters of urine from my bladder. I had to go home with a catheter. I don't have pain, but I still do not have the urge to urinate. My urologist performed a few tests and said that I would need the catheter for the rest of my life. Can I do anything to help my bladder go back to normal? - L.L.B.

ANSWER: Urinary retention is the inability to drain the bladder. It's seen in both men and women, but the more likely causes for each are very different.

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