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Urine output - decreased



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

Alternative Names


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:


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.



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.

Related Taxonomy

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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