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I can’t empty my bladder when I pee

Most men will experience a weaker urine stream as they age, and this weakness can cause unsatisfying urination. You may feel like your bladder isn’t empty, but that you also can’t get any more urine out. This is called urinary hesitancy. Urinary hesitancy is not a disease, but a condition that can be caused by many underlying processes. Many will simply chalk this process up to aging. In reality, there are many possible underlying causes that are treatable. This can be done either through medication or simply identifying a cause and removing it from your life.

Enlarged Prostate

The most common cause of urinary hesitancy. as men age is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a noncancerous enlargement of the male prostate. The prostate is the semen-producing gland that surrounds your urethra where it connects to your bladder. Due to its location, enlargement of the gland (BPH) can affect your urination, making it difficult to pee.

Some signs that you have BPH may include:

  • A hesitant and/or interrupted urine stream
  • A more urgent need to pee
  • Leaking or dribbling before you get to the bathroom
  • A sense that your bladder is not empty after you pee
  • Frequent urination that wakes you up in the night.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should contact your doctor. They may recommend medications to shrink the prostate to a more reasonable size, and if your prostate doesn’t respond to that they may recommend surgery to remove excess tissue. In either case, BPH is a reversible condition when treated by medical professionals.

Certain Medications

There are a host of medications that can affect your ability to pee. Anything from muscle relaxants to antidepressants to even certain allergy medications can temporarily make it difficult to pee or make peeing less satisfying. If you’ve recently started taking medications of this nature, this may be the cause of your unsatisfying urination.


Surgery can actually cause urinary hesitancy in days following the procedure. Anesthetics given during surgery can cause problems with the nerves in your bladder, especially if your bladder fills during the surgery. Normally, a single visit to the doctor’s office is enough to solve this problem, as it is usually resolved once the bladder is emptied.

Nerve Damage

If your brain is unable to get the signal that your bladder is full, it can cause urinary hesitancy. Because of this, another cause of urine hesitancy is diseases or conditions that damage the nervous system. Some of these underlying conditions include:

  • A Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Injuries to the brain or spinal cord.
  • Other causes

While the causes listed above are the most common, there are other conditions that can cause urine hesitancy. Some of these include:

  • Prostatitis (Prostate infection that causes swelling)
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Bladder or Kidney stones partially blocking the flow of urine
  • Hard stools in your rectum caused by constipation
  • In rare cases, tumors or cancer can block the bladder or urethra

If urinating causes you any pain, if you’re unable to pee, if there is blood in your urine, or if your urine is cloudy, you should seek immediate medical attention. These are signs of infections of the urinary tract or prostate and could mean something even more serious.