Difficulty urinating refers to problems starting to urinate or maintaining the flow while urinating. Difficulty urinating can occur at any age but is more common in older men. Sometimes, it can lead to urinary retention, which means you cannot urinate.
The main factor contributing to older men having Trouble urinating is an enlarged prostate. It can also result from certain medications, infections, surgery, or nervous system problems.
There are treatments to help relieve difficulty urinating, but you should talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms. Through an exam, your doctor can detect the cause behind the difficulty urinating and offer treatment options.
There are many possible causes of difficulty urinating.
In men, difficulty urinating is usually related to the prostate. However, it can also be due to problems with the nervous system, surgeries, infections or even psychological issues (in men and women)
The enlargement puts pressure on the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). This pressure causes difficulty urinating, either to start to maintain the flow.
Prostatitis is the medical term for a prostate infection. It is pretty standard in men and can cause swelling that puts pressure on the urethra. In women, urinary infection can also lead to difficulty urinating.
Certain medications can cause urinary difficulties in people of any age or gender. Medicines that may have this adverse effect include certain cold medications, nasal decongestants, and allergy medications.
Anticholinergics (which treat stomach cramps, muscle spasms, and incontinence) and some antidepressants can also cause difficulty urinating.
Problems with the nervous system:
Damaged or diseased nerves can interfere with the flow of urine. For example, nerves can be damaged by accidents, blows, birth, diabetes, or brain or spinal cord infections that a neurologist can eventually treat, and in some very advanced cases, by a neurosurgeon.
Anaesthesia administered during surgery can damage some nerves, resulting in difficulty urinating. For example, surgery near the bladder, kidney, or urethra can create scar tissue constricting the urethra, making it difficult to urinate.
Shy bladder syndrome:
In some rare cases, someone with difficulty urinating may have a psychological problem (if you think you have this type of problem, it is advisable to see a psychologist ). However, the inability to urinate in front of others can stop a person from being able to start or maintain the flow in certain situations.
Symptoms that may accompany difficulty urinating:
When an infection is present in the prostate or anywhere in the urinary tract, symptoms may include the following:
- Burning or pain when urinating.
- Frequent urination.
- cloudy urine
- I am feeling the urgency to urinate.
- Blood in the urine.
- Abdominal or back pain.
- Foul odour in urine.
When the problem is an enlarged prostate (or benign prostatic hyperplasia), the symptoms that may accompany it are:
- Nocturia: needing to get up more often at night to urinate.
- Force when urinating.
- I was dripping after I finished urinating.
- It decreased stream size and force of urine expulsion.
- Intense and sudden urinary urgency.
- Urine with blood.
If difficulty urinating is a recurring problem, you should schedule a visit with your doctor. With an exam and other diagnostic tools, your doctor can determine the cause of your condition and treat it to help relieve your symptoms.
You should seek immediate help if you are experiencing difficulty urinating, vomiting, fever, chills, tremor, or back pain.
You should get assistance if you cannot urinate as soon as possible. It is called urinary retention, and it causes pain and swelling. If not treated right away, it could become severe.
Preparing for the appointment:
You’ll likely see your family doctor first. In some cases, they may refer you immediately to a doctor specialising in urinary tract disorders (urologist).
Prepare for examination:
- Be aware of pre-appointment restrictions.
- Write down all the symptoms you’ve experienced, including any that seem unrelated to the reason you’re making an appointment.
- Make a list of your primary medical information, including any other conditions you have been or are being treated for and names of medications, vitamins or supplements you are taking.
- Consider questions to ask your doctor and write them down. Bring a piece of paper to make notes and a pen to write down information while your doctor answers your questions.
- When difficulty urinating is the reason you visit the doctor, you will first have a medical exam.
- The doctor will ask you questions such as the following:
- How long have you been experiencing difficulty urinating?
- When is this symptom worse?
- Is it constant or intermittent?
- Is the flow of urine weak?
- What seems to make the situation better or worse?
- What other symptoms are you experiencing?
- Are you currently taking medications or supplements?
- After an exam, your doctor may order other tests to determine the reason for the difficulty urinating.
Tests may include:
- Urine analysis.
- Blood tests.
Treatment for difficulty urinating depends on the cause.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
In the case of benign prostatic hyperplasia (or prostate enlargement), it may be that only a change of habits in daily life is required. However, when changing habits isn’t enough, your doctor may prescribe medications like alpha-blockers or other medicines like finasteride and dutasteride.
Surgery may be required if symptoms such as:
Urinary infections, renal insufficiency.
The surgeries that are practised, depending on the symptoms that are manifested, are:
Transurethral incision of the prostate: This procedure is similar to TURP but is usually done in men with a smaller prostate. Sometimes it is done without hospitalization.
Open prostatectomy: It is carried out using general anaesthesia. An incision is made through the abdomen or perineum. It is a lengthy procedure and usually requires a 5-10 day hospital stay.
Urinary tract infection: If the cause of difficulty urinating is a urinary tract infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
If the cause of the difficulty urinating is something else, your doctor may provide you with a different treatment.
- If difficulty urinating is ignored, symptoms can worsen.
- Difficulty urinating can reach the point of being impossible and can lead to significant pain.
- Ultimately, you may end up with urinary retention; it is an emergency.
- Heat can help in treating difficulty urinating. Place a hot water bottle or similar device on your lower abdomen between your navel and pubic bone. Heat relaxes muscles and can improve flow.
- May gently massage the area to increase flow.
- It is also essential to drink plenty of fluids.