Weak Urine Stream: What Causes This?

Weak urine stream is also known as urine hesitancy. This is when there is difficulty in urinating or maintaining the flow.

Woman dealing with a weak urine stream in the bathroom

Everyone goes to the restroom quite often to pee. But when it gets to a point that peeing has become difficult then you have a weak urine stream. It’s either you have a problem starting at all or even maintaining the flow of urine. So many people also refer to this as urine hesitancy. Well, this is common in men. Especially men that are older. But it could also happen in women as well. At first, it might not seem like something really serious. But over time the symptoms can get really alarming.

A patient with urine hesitancy would tend to have much retention of urine. On the first outlook, you might think this is a good thing but it isn’t. And that’s because retaining too much urine in your bladder can cause other health conditions. That’s why people are always advised to use the restroom as often as they can. Anyway, urine hesitancy can be as a result of a whole lot of things. The important thing is identifying the symptoms you have. That way you would be able to explain well to your doctor. And that would enable your doctor to give a better diagnosis.


Symptoms of Urine Hesitancy 

Symptoms of weak urine stream come in diverse forms. And also differ from person to person. But the very first symptom the person would notice is difficulty in starting or maintaining urine flow.

One thing about urine hesitancy is that it doesn’t develop suddenly. It happens over time. And this is one reason why patients are not able to detect on time. Most times patients know something is wrong until when they start seeing other symptoms.

A person with weak urine stream would tend to retain urine in the bladder a lot. And this causes discomfort and also swelling in the bladder. At the end of the day, it could lead to a medical emergency.

If you’re experiencing weak urine stream and any of these symptoms, then seek medical attention:

  1. Fever
  2. Shaking
  3. Chills
  4. Vomiting
  5. Inability to urinate at all
  6. Lower back pain


Causes of Weak Urine Stream in both Male and Female 

There are so many causes of weak urine stream. Some affect both males and females. While some affect individual sex only. These are some of the common causes of urine hesitancy:

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs are known to cause inflammation of the genital organs. When that happens the functions of the inflamed organs are impaired. And if the bladder is inflamed there would be urine hesitancy.

Nerve damage. This could as a result of stroke, accidents, brain damage or even diabetes.

Medications. There are some medications you take that might cause urine hesitancy. Example of this is decongestants.

Other causes

  • Kidney stones
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cancerous tumor
  • Bladder muscle disorders
  • Voiding dysfunction


Causes in Men 

The most common cause of weak urine stream in men is an enlarged prostate. This is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. It actually occurs more in older men. And this is because the prostate gland always grows. So as men get older the prostate gets enlarged. This does not exclude the fact that younger men can also have enlarged prostate. When it gets enlarged it tends to block urine passage. And with that, there is urine inconsistency.

Prostate gland actually surrounds the urethra. And the urethra is a tube-like structure that helps with the transport of urine. So when the prostate is enlarged, it applies pressure on the urethra. The pressure it applies is the reason why voiding urine becomes a lot more difficult for the man.


Causes in Women 

There are fewer cases of women that develop weak urine system compared to men. It happens more to women when they are pregnant or after childbirth.

If a woman experiences any of the following below during childbirth the chances of having urine hesitancy increases:

  1. Epidural use
  2. Prolonged second stage of labor
  3. Baby weighing above 4000 grams
  4. Episiotomy
  5. Use of vacuum or forceps for child delivery
  6. Perineal tearing

The reason why urine hesitancy is common after childbirth is because of damage to nerves. Most times during childbirth the nerves surrounding urinary tract and bladder undergo trauma. And when this happens there are higher chances of having weak urine system.

To prevent urine hesitancy after childbirth, proper postpartum bladder care must be done. And at the same proper voiding of urine, at least every 6 hours would help out. That way the chances of having urine hesitancy becomes lower.

One other common cause of weak urine system in females is urinary tract infection.



Most times a weak urine system isn’t something to worry about. That’s because it could have no medical implication. But if it happens for a longer period of time that could be a cause of concern. At the same time if it accompanies other signs and symptoms then you have to go see a doctor.

Before your doctor would come up with a treatment method some questions would be asked. This is so that the doctor would get a clearer picture of the condition. And at the same time understand the severity of the condition. Here are some of the questions:

  1. Are there other symptoms you experience?
  2. How long have you been experiencing those symptoms?
  3. Does anything make the symptom get better or get worse?
  4. Did you notice whether the urine hesitancy was abrupt or gradually?
  5. Is your urine flow weak?

Then after these questions, your doctor would most likely perform some other tests. Most times a urine sample would be asked for. Well, for men the doctor would most likely examine the prostate.

Treatment of urine hesitancy would depend on the cause. But we have here some standard treatments for weak urine system:

  1. Antibiotics are given if the cause is an infection
  2. If the cause is enlarged prostate medications are given to shrink the prostate
  3. Surgery can also be done if it’s as a result of a blockage
  4. Procedures to dilate the urethra can also be carried out
  5. Scar tissue within the urethra can also be removed

It’s true that there are times that urine hesitancy is nothing to worry about. But even at that, it shouldn’t be ignored when noticed. Because it could have something to do with your health. And they say health is wealth. So don’t just ignore, instead book that appointment with your doctor. You can be sure that your doctor would be able to explain better the cause of weak urine stream.

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