Research Article

Urinary retention and the lunisolar cycle: is it a lunatic phenomenon?

BMJ 1989; 299 doi: (Published 23 December 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;299:1560
  1. S. R. Payne,
  2. D. J. Deardon,
  3. G. F. Abercrombie,
  4. G. L. Carlson
  1. Department of Urology, St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine whether a relation between urinary retention and temporal rhythms exists. DESIGN--Retrospective analysis of patients presenting over three years. SETTING--Urology departments in two hospitals. PATIENTS--815 Patients presenting as emergency admissions with urinary retention and requiring immediate decompression of the bladder. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Calendar date of each admission to determine circadian, monthly, and seasonal periodicity. RESULTS--No association was found between urinary retention and circadian, monthly, or seasonal rhythms. A significantly higher (p less than 0.001) incidence of urinary retention was observed during the new moon in comparison with other phases of the lunar cycle. CONCLUSIONS--Urinary retention is periodic in nature. This should be considered when the workload of a specialist urological department is organised.