The kidneys control the amount of urine the body makes, keeping electrolytes and fluid volumes in balance. When the kidneys stop producing enough urine, various problems can develop. Oliguria is the production of fewer than 500 milliliters of urine in 24 or fewer hours in adults or less than 0.5 milliliters per kilogram per hour in an adult or child. Sometimes, there is a simple explanation and treatment for decreased urine output, though it often indicates a serious underlying health condition.
Dehydration can quickly lead to oliguria. If the body is not taking in enough water, it cannot produce enough urine. Feeling thirsty is not always a reliable indicator of hydration status. Young infants and children may have fewer wet diapers, stop producing tears when crying, or have a sunken soft spot of the top of the head. Adults may present with confusion, dizziness, and fatigue. Any urine output will be dark yellow.
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