There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have to go to the bathroom and pull up a toilet or urinal, only to find that your urine is weaker than usual or you have difficulty starting and it takes longer than it usually does to enter your bladder. When slow urination takes place, what gives?
Slow Urination and Weak Flow in Men
As a man, it can be very alarming to discover that your flow of urine is slow and/or weak. After all, your male bits are pretty important. Therefore, problems with peeing can’t help but make you wonder if something serious is wrong. If you’re having a weak or low flow of urine, before you despair, take a deep breath and keep on reading. The cause of the symptoms may not be as dire as you think.
What causes a weak or slow flow of urine in men?
A weak or slow flow of urine is exactly what it sounds like. Your stream of urine is weaker than it usually is and it takes longer to empty your bladder than it usually does. There are several factors that can contribute to this problem. Some of the most common causes include the following:
The most common cause of a low or weak flow of urine is an enlarged prostate. Prostate problems are particularly common in men who are over the age of 45. The prostate, a gland, is a part of the male reproductive system. It serves several functions, with the most important being the production of seminal fluid, which is a component of semen. It also plays a vital role in male hormone production.
The prostate gland sits just below the bladder and as such, it helps to regulate urine flow. Therefore, when it is enlarged, it can slow or weaken the flow. There are a few problems that can affect the prostate gland, and in turn, cause slow or weak urine flow. Those problems include:
Prostatitis is the name given to a condition that causes swelling or inflammation of the prostate gland. It most commonly affects men under the age of 50. Acute prostatitis refers to a sudden inflammation of the prostate. It usually occurs as a result of a bacterial infection, and it comes on suddenly and with proper antibiotics, it clears up just as quickly.
Medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlarged prostate is a condition that most commonly afflicts older men over the age of 50. The enlargement typically occurs in the transition zone. Then the prostate becomes enlarged, it pushes and pinches the urethra, and blocks the urethra tube. This reduces the bladders' ability to empty efficiently. As the condition persists, the bladder can grow weaker and urine flow can become slower and weaker.
The most common form of cancer among men next to skin cancer, prostate cancer affects 1 in 9 males. The average age of prostate cancer diagnosis is 66. As a result, regular screenings starting at the age of 60 can be helpful for early detection and treatment.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
For people suffering from multiple sclerosis, bladder dysfunction can be a common problem. In fact, over 80 percent of people that suffer from MS will also suffer from bladder dysfunction. When MS lesions delay or block nerve signals in areas of the central nervous system (CNS) that control the bladder or urinary sphincters, bladder dysfunction happens. A bladder that does not empty properly can cause problems such as:
- Frequent urination
- Urinary hesitancy
- Urinary incontinence
- Problems emptying bladder completely
Urethral Stricture Disease
The urethra is a tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body. Urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra) occurs when scar tissue in or around your urethra limits or blocks the flow of urine. Inflammation, an injury, or an infection can create this scar tissue. Urethral stricture disease is more common in men, but women can develop it, too.
Symptoms of urethral stricture include:
- Abdominal pain
- A slow urine stream
- Weak urine stream
- A urine stream that sprays rather than flows
- Blood in your urine (known as hematuria)
- Pain when you urinate
- Reduced urine output
- Urinary tract infections in men
- Urethral discharge
Slow Urination After Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol can affect how your muscles work and can cause them to tighten, making it harder to urinate. Also, alcohol is inflammatory, therefore, it can worsen inflammation in the prostate cells and can lead to urinary retention.
Alcohol also drains magnesium stores. This can negatively impact kidney and muscle function, as well as the way nerve messages are delivered. All of these factors can have an impact on your body's ability to release fluids. If you have a medical condition or a family medical history of prostate problems, the best urologists recommend avoiding alcohol in favor of more water, or a cup of green tea.
Learn more: Alcohol and Your Bladder Health
If you have realized that your urine is emptying slower than it usually does or that your flow of urine is weaker than normal, talk to your doctor or a Urology specialist in your area.
Based on an examination and an assessment of other symptoms you may be experiencing, a urologist will be able to offer you advice on how to proceed with treatment for slow urination. The cause of the problem may be a bacterial infection, and treating the issue may be as simple as taking an antibiotic.
In the event that the condition is more of a cause for concern, your doctor will let you know if further testing or if seeing an Omaha urology specialist is recommended.
Additional Reading: What is shy bladder (Paruresis)?
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