If you have trouble starting to urinate or maintaining urine flow, you may
have urinary hesitancy. It can occur in men and women at any age, but it’s most
common in older men. In some cases, it may lead to urinary retention. This
happens when you’re unable to urinate. It can be very serious.
Urinary hesitancy can result from a variety of medical conditions. If you
experience it, make an appointment with your doctor. They can help pinpoint the
cause of your condition and offer treatment options.
of urinary hesitancy
There are many possible causes of urinary hesitancy. In men, the condition
is usually caused by a benign enlarged prostate (benign prostatic
hyperplasia). In both men and women, it may also result from:
- bladder muscle disorders
- nerve damage
- psychological issues
- certain medications
- a cancer tumor obstructing the urethra or
If you’re male, you have a prostate gland. It surrounds your urethra. Your
urethra is the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your
Many men develop a benign enlarged prostate as they get older, according to
the National Association for
Continence. As it swells within the center of the prostate gland, it puts
pressure on the prostatic urethra. This pressure makes it harder to start and
maintain the flow of urine.
Nervous system disorders and nerve
Damaged or diseased nerves can also interfere with your flow of urine.
Nerves can be damaged by accidents, strokes, childbirth, diabetes, or brain or
spinal cord infections. Multiple sclerosis and other nervous system disorders
can also lead to nerve damage.
Anesthesia administered during surgery can impair some of your nerves. This
can result in urinary difficulties afterward. Surgery on your bladder, kidneys,
or urethra can also create scar tissue that constricts your urethra. This can
cause urinary hesitancy.
Prostatitis is fairly common in men. It’s inflammation of the prostate gland
that could be due to infection. It can cause the prostate to swell and put
pressure on your urethra. This can result in urinary hesitancy.
Urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections can also lead
to problems with urine flow in both men and women.
Shy bladder syndrome (Paruresis)
In rare cases, urinary hesitancy may be a sign of a psychological condition.
If you feel uncomfortable about urinating in the presence of others, you may
find it hard to urinate in certain situations. For example, you may experience
urinary hesitancy when using public bathrooms.
Certain medications can also cause problems with urination. For example, certain
cold treatment medications, nasal decongestants, and antiallergy medications
can affect your urination. Anticholinergics, which are used to treat stomach
cramps, muscle spasms, and incontinence, can also cause urinary retention and
hesitancy. Antidepressants may also affect your urinary habits.
help for urinary hesitancy
If you’re experiencing persistent or recurring urinary hesitancy, visit your
doctor. They can help determine the cause of your condition and recommend
treatment to help relieve your symptoms.
In some cases, urinary hesitancy may be a sign of an emergency medical
condition. You should seek immediate help if you experience difficulty
urinating along with vomiting, fever, shaking, chills, or low back pain. You
should also get emergency help if you can’t urinate at all. This condition is
called urinary retention. It can become very serious if not treated quickly enough.
To diagnose the underlying cause of urinary hesitancy or other problems with
urination, your doctor will likely start by taking your medical history. For
example, they’ll want to know:
- how long you’ve been experiencing urinary
- if it developed gradually or suddenly
- if your urine flow is weak
- if anything seems to relieve or worsen your
They may also ask you about other symptoms that you’ve experienced. Be sure
you mention any other medical conditions that you’ve been diagnosed with and
any medications or supplements that you’re taking.
Your doctor may also order one or more tests to help determine the cause of
your symptoms. For example, they may collect a sample of your urine for
analysis. They may swab the inside of your urethra. In some cases, they may
need to insert a small flexible tube, known as a catheter, into your urethra.
This allows them to collect a sample of urine directly from your bladder.
Your doctor may also conduct one or more of the following urodynamic studies:
- Uroflowmetry measures the volume and flow rate
of urine expelled when you empty your bladder.
- Pressure flow testing requires a catheter to
measure the pressure in your bladder, which is then compared to the flow rate
- Video urodynamic testing uses a special fluid placed
via catheter into your bladder in order to create contrast imaging during
filling and emptying of the bladder.
If you’re male, your doctor may conduct a rectal prostate exam. They may
also create an image of your prostate using an ultrasound or other imaging
Treating urinary hesitancy
doctor’s recommended treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your
symptoms. Depending on your diagnosis, they may recommend medications, surgery,
or other treatments.
In some cases, home
remedies may help relieve your symptoms. For example, it may help to place
a hot water bottle or heating pad on your lower abdomen. This can help relax your
muscles and may improve your urine flow. Gently massaging the area may also
help increase urine flow. It’s also important to drink plenty of fluids.
Outlook for urinary
If you ignore problems with urine flow, your symptoms may get worse.
Urination may become difficult to the point of impossible, leading to urine
retention. This condition can be painful and serious.
It’s best to visit your doctor as soon as you experience problems with your
flow of urine. Following their recommended treatment plan may help improve your
short- and long-term outlook. Ask them for more information about your specific
diagnosis, treatment options, and outlook.