Health Illustrated Encyclopedia

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.


  • Dehydration due to vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, with a lack of adequate fluid intake
  • Total urinary tract obstruction, such as may result from an enlarged prostate
  • Severe infection leading to shock
  • Drugs such as anticholinergics, methotrexate, and diuretics

Home Care

Follow prescribed fluid regimens and measure urine output as directed.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

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 Office Visit

The doctor 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 fluid is consumed each day?
    • How much urine is produced 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?
  • Other
    • Does increasing fluid intake increase urine output?
    • What other symptoms do you have?
    • What medications do you take?
    • Do you have any allergies?
    • Do you have access to adequate fluids?
  • Past history
    • Have you had any recent injuries such as burns?
    • Have you been sick?
    • Do you have a previous problem with the kidneys or bladder?

Tests that may be done include:


Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2004.

Wein AJ. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007.

Provided by

Review Date: 7/23/2007
Reviewed By: Marc Greenstein, DO, Urologist, North Jersey Center for Urologic Care, Denville, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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