The London Clinic, 120 Harley Street, London, W1G 7JW
Urination is something that we don’t usually have to think about. We simply get the urge to go, get to the toilet, and let the urine flow. However, sometimes it can become harder to pass urine. You might find that it’s painful or that you aren’t able to go even though you feel the need to pee.
Difficulty in Passing Urine

Although problems passing urine aren’t usually a sign of anything serious, it can be very uncomfortable and inconvenient. You shouldn’t just ignore or put up with urinary symptoms. If you see a doctor when you’re having difficulty passing urine, here are some of the most likely causes that will be diagnosed.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

UTIs are the most common cause of urinary symptoms. You might feel like you need to go more often, but when you get there it’s difficult to get much out. As well as difficulty passing urine, you might also notice a burning sensation when you pee, a fever, or even blood in your urine.
  • UTIs are more common in men than women, but they can affect anyone
  • The infection can be anywhere in your urinary tract, including the bladder and kidneys
  • Most UTIs can be treated with antibiotics
  • Some UTIs can be more serious, especially when organs like the kidneys are affected

Prostate Problems

An enlarged prostate can put pressure on the urethra (the tube that carried urine out of your body, making it harder for urine to pass through. Only men have a prostate gland, so these conditions don’t affect women.
There are three possible reasons why your prostate gland might be larger than usual:
  • Benign prostate enlargement is the most common cause. It may cause troublesome symptoms, but won’t usually cause serious problems unless ignored so you might want treatment to relieve your symptoms.
  • Prostatitis happens when the prostate or surrounding tissue is inflamed. You might need antibiotics or other medication to treat it.
  • Prostate cancer is less likely, but it is one possible cause of urinary symptoms so it’s important to get checked by a doctor.

Kidney Stones and other Blockages

Kidney stones are small clumps of minerals that can form inside the kidney. When the stone leaves your kidney, it will pass along the ureter to your bladder. It can then move down the urethra and out of your body. However, the stone can cause problems along the way, including making it harder for urine to pass and pain.


Other kinds of blockages can also stop urine from getting to the bladder or out of your body. These include congenital problems of the urinary system, extrinsic conditions such as endometriosis, or various kinds of growth arising in the urinary tract.

Other Health Problems

Doctors will always ask about any existing health problems and medications you are taking. Some conditions such as diabetes can change the way you urinate. Certain medications prescribed for unrelated conditions can also have adverse side-effects on the bladder. In most cases, discomfort passing urine will have a minor and easily treatable cause. However, since it can be very painful and there is a risk of complications with a more serious cause, it’s important to see a doctor. You’ll find out what’s causing your symptoms and get treatment to relieve them.
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