Urine output - decreased
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Urine output - decreased


Decreased urine output means that you produce less than 500 milliliters of urine in 24 hours.

Alternative Names



A large decrease in urine output may be a sign of a serious, or even life-threatening, condition. However, urine output can usually be restored if you get medical treatment right away.


  • Blood loss
  • Dehydration when you do not drink enough fluids and have vomiting, diarrhea, or fever
  • Medications such as anticholinergics, diuretics, and some antibiotics
  • Severe infection or any other medical condition that leads to shock
  • Total urinary tract blockage, such as from an enlarged prostate

Home Care

Drink as much fluid as your health care provider recommends. Your health care provider may also ask you to measure the amount of urine you produce.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your health care provider if you:

  • Notice that you are producing less urine than usual
  • Are vomiting, have diarrhea, or have a high fever and cannot get enough fluids by mouth
  • Produce less urine and have dizziness, lightheadedness, or a fast pulse

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

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 quickly become worse?
  • Quality
    • How much do you drink each day?
    • How much urine do you produce each day?
    • Does drinking more increase the amount of urine you produce?
    • What color is the urine?
  • Factors that make it worse
    • Have you had a fever?
    • Have you had diarrhea?
    • Have you been vomiting? With or without nausea?
    • Are you less thirsty?
    • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Other
    • What medications do you take?
    • Do you have any allergies?
    • Do you drink enough fluids?
  • Medical history
    • Have you had any recent injuries, such as burns?
    • Have you been sick?
    • Do you have a history of a kidney or bladder problem?

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, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 3.

Molotoris BA. Acute kidney injury. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 122.

Review Date: 9/16/2011
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.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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