Difficulty Urinating
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Reviewed By:

Kenji Taylor, MD, MSc

Kenji Taylor, MD, MSc (Family Medicine, Primary Care)

Dr. Taylor is a Japanese-African American physician who grew up and was educated in the United States but spent a considerable amount of time in Japan as a college student, working professional and now father of three. After graduating from Brown, he worked in finance first before attending medical school at Penn. He then completed a fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control before going on to specialize in Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he was also a chief resident. After a faculty position at Stanford, he moved with his family to Japan where he continues to see families on a military base outside of Tokyo, teach Japanese residents and serve remotely as a medical director for Roots Community Health Center. He also enjoys editing and writing podcast summaries for Hippo Education.

Nao Saito, MD

Nao Saito, MD (Urology)

After graduating from Tokyo Women's Medical University School of Medicine, Dr. Saito worked at Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital, Toda Chuo General Hospital, Tokyo Women's Medical University Yachiyo Medical Center, and Ako Chuo Hospital before becoming Deputy Director (current position) at Takasaki Tower Clinic Department of Ophthalmology and Urology in April 2020.

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Content updated on Apr 4, 2024

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People with similar symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Difficulty in passing urine

  • Long time to pass urine

  • It is difficult to pee

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About the Symptom

Difficulty urinating describes the inability to release urine voluntarily. Usually, when you have the urge to urinate, your body passes the urine with ease. If you need to need to strain or find you are unable to fully empty the bladder despite the urge to urinate, this suggests a difficulty with urination.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Need to strain/exert to pass urine

Possible Causes

Generally, Difficulty urinating can be related to:

  • Transverse Myelitis

    Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of both sides of one section of the spinal cord. There is often damage to the covering of nerve cell fibers (myelin), which interrupts the messages from the spinal cord nerves to the rest of the body. Causes include infections and immune system disorders that attack the body's tissues.

  • Uterine Cancer

    Cancer of the uterus (womb). The vast majority of women develop post-menopausal bleeding as their first symptom of uterine cancer. Risk factors include age with most cases appearing after menopause, a history of estrogen-only hormone treatment, and obesity. Diagnosis is after pelvic exam, ultrasound, biopsy and other scans to determine whether the cancer has spread.

  • Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy

    Familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAPs) are life-threatening, multisystem, inherited disorders where amyloid (an abnormal protein that can be deposited in any tissue) accumulates in nerve fibers and around nerves.

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
  • Spinal Cord Tumor
  • Bladder Cancer / Ureteric Cancer / Renal Pelvis Cancer
  • Neurogenic Bladder
  • Imperforate Hymen
  • Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO)

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Difficulty urinating may be related to these serious diseases:

  • Acute Prostatitis

    The sudden inflammation of the prostate gland that can be caused by a bacterial infection.

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Do you have trouble urinating?

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Find Similar Symptoms

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References

  • Dougherty JM, Aeddula NR. Male Urinary Retention. [Updated 2022 Aug 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538499/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538499/

Reviewed By:

Kenji Taylor, MD, MSc

Kenji Taylor, MD, MSc (Family Medicine, Primary Care)

Dr. Taylor is a Japanese-African American physician who grew up and was educated in the United States but spent a considerable amount of time in Japan as a college student, working professional and now father of three. After graduating from Brown, he worked in finance first before attending medical school at Penn. He then completed a fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control before going on to specialize in Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he was also a chief resident. After a faculty position at Stanford, he moved with his family to Japan where he continues to see families on a military base outside of Tokyo, teach Japanese residents and serve remotely as a medical director for Roots Community Health Center. He also enjoys editing and writing podcast summaries for Hippo Education.

Nao Saito, MD

Nao Saito, MD (Urology)

After graduating from Tokyo Women's Medical University School of Medicine, Dr. Saito worked at Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital, Toda Chuo General Hospital, Tokyo Women's Medical University Yachiyo Medical Center, and Ako Chuo Hospital before becoming Deputy Director (current position) at Takasaki Tower Clinic Department of Ophthalmology and Urology in April 2020.

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