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Male & Female Urinary Problems

Male & Female Urinary Problems

Urinary problems are common in both men and women, though the exact symptoms and underlying causes of the problem can vary dramatically. Symptoms can include intense difficulty when urinating, a sudden strong urge to urinate, accidental urination, or overly frequent urination. Urinary problems can be due to:


Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)

BPH stands for benign prostatic hypertrophy, which is the medical term for an enlarged prostate. The prostate is a gland that produces an important component of semen. When it grows too large, it can press on the urethra and cause problems with the bladder and urination.

Almost all men experience some growth of their prostate as they age, and almost all men are likely to experience BPH if they live long enough. Fortunately, the growth is not associated with cancer and does not increase the risk of developing cancer. The exact cause of BPH is unknown; however, it has been observed that men who have undergone the removal of their testicles at a young age do not develop an enlarged prostate.

The symptoms of BPH, which are present in less than 50% of cases, include:

  • Difficulty or inability to urinate
  • Dribbling urine at the end of urination
  • Slow urination and/or a weak stream
  • Sudden urge to urinate
  • Urinating two or more times per night
  • Incontinence
  • Blood or pain when urinating (possibly indicating an infection)

Often times BPH can be managed with lifestyle changes. These changes will be thoroughly reviewed by a Temple urologist, as will the necessity to monitor BPH with yearly exams. Certain medications can diminish the symptoms of BPH. For symptoms that are more severe, Temple's urologists have extensive experience in resolving the condition with laser therapies and robotic-assisted surgery.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Overactive bladder

Bladder contractions and spasms can create a sudden and intense need to urinate. The sensation is due to the bladder muscles contracting during the wrong stage of urination. These contractions can occur even when the bladder is empty.

Conditions that can result in an overactive bladder include:

  • Bladder infections
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder inflammation
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder obstruction
  • Diseases of the nervous system
  • Injuries to the nervous system

Men can develop an overactive bladder from an enlarged prostate obstructing the bladder or causing physical changes within it.

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms, and may include medications, surgery, changes in diet or retraining the bladder with electrical stimulation or biofeedback therapy. Temple's urologists are highly experienced in all forms of overactive bladder treatment, including neural stimulation and advanced surgical treatments.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence refers to accidental urination during physical activity, such as exercise, sneezing, coughing, standing or sexual intercourse. Stress incontinence is primarily due to weakened pelvic sphincter muscles. These are the muscles that are squeezed to prevent urine from leaking.

Stress incontinence is the most prevalent form of urinary incontinence in women, as childbirth can severely weaken the pelvic sphincter muscles. Other sources of muscle weakness include certain medications, surgery in the pelvic or prostate area or an injury to the urethra.

Other risk factors for stress incontinence include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Being female
  • Chronic conditions that cause coughing

The need for treatment depends on the severity of the problem, and how severely it affects a patient's daily life. Temple's urologists are highly experienced in many different forms of overactive bladder treatment, including behavioral changes, surgery, medications and retraining the pelvic muscles.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Infections of the bladder

Any part of the urinary system can become infected, but the lower urinary tract, including the bladder and the urethra, are the most common areas to be affected. Bladder infections occur much more frequently in women than men.

Bladder infections can be incredibly painful, and can become a serious problem if they spread to the nearby kidneys. Symptoms of a bladder infection can include:

  • An intense need to urinate
  • Burning during urination
  • Passing only small amount of urine
  • Pelvic pain or pressure (women only)
  • Rectal pain (men only)
  • Cloudy urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Urine that smells stronger than normal
  • Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen

Bladder infections are treated with antibiotics. The exact drug will depend on the nature of the infection. Temple's urologists have extensive experience choosing the most appropriate antibiotic for an infection.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Neurologic disorders

Like most areas of the body, the bladder's functions are controlled by nerves. Therefore, many disorders that affect the neurological system can impair bladder function, cause incontinence, or result in other urinary problems.

Some major disorders that can cause neurologic bladder issues include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Spina bifida
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • HIV
  • Brain tumors

The specifics and severity of the urinary problem will depend on the exact nature of the neurological problem and how it affects the urinary system. For example, a bladder that becomes overactive often results in symptoms of urge incontinence, whereas an underactive pelvic sphincter causes symptoms of stress incontinence.

Temple's urologists can pinpoint the root cause of a neurologic urinary problem and offer medical therapies or advanced surgical treatments to lessen symptoms or completely resolve the issue.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).