Feel Like I Have to Pee but Can’t


You ran to the bathroom in just fast enough to dash into the stall and urinate. Unfortunately, nothing happens. When you feel like you have to pee but can’t, it can be an extremely frustrating experience. Worse still, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. For you to urinate freely again, you have to find out the cause of your condition and remedy it.

I Feel Like I Have to Pee But Can’t

There are several different reasons why you may feel like you may have to pee but can’t. Some of the most common causes of this symptom include:

1. Medications

Many medications have the possibility of causing unwanted side effects. There are also certain medications that make you more likely to retain urine and be unable to urinate. This is particularly likely to happen if you have prostate enlargement already. Some of the medications that cause this condition include over-the-counter medication for colds and allergies. In addition., any drugs that narrow the urinary channel can obstruct the urine flow. These drugs include pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine and ephedrine. Antihistamines and anti-depressants can also make your bladder relax too much and cause urinating problems. Some of these drugs include chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine.

2. Nerve Conditions

Certain nerve conditions can end up making you feel like you have to pee, but can’t. There are complex nerves that link your bladder and your brain together. When these nerves are disrupted, you may lose control of your bladder. These means that the muscles required for urine to be released may not be processed properly.

Some of the common causes of nerve conditions include diabetes mellitus, spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, blood clots that exert pressure on your spinal cord, strokes, spinal cord tumors, ruptured discs and infections. Urinary retention could be one of the first symptoms that your spinal cord is compressed. If this is the case, you need immediate medical care to prevent chronic disabilities. Any nerve conditions should be treated by a doctor immediately.

3. Childhood Causes of Urinary Retention

Children may occasionally develop urinary retention problems. Often, these symptoms may appear within the first six months after birth. They may be caused by irritation from the shampoo or soap used to clean the child. Girls may also experience this condition because of a yeast infection.

4. Blocked Urethra

A blocked urethra can occur in men and women. It may happen because of an injury or scar tissue. Other causes of the blockage include pelvic tumors, blood clots, stones and infections. For men, the most common cause is an enlarged prostrate gland. This could occur due to prostate cancer, Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) or prostatitis.

5. Surgeries

After a surgery, individuals may experience urinary retention. This may be due to immobility after the surgery, the kind of surgery or the type of anesthesia used. Specific prostate and bladder surgeries can end up creating strictures that cause urine to be retained.

6. Infections

An infection is an extremely common cause of urinary retention. If the urinary tract becomes infected, then it may be too blocked for you to pee. This can happen when bacteria are able to access and infect the bladder. While you feel a strong urge to urinate, you may find that you cannot. Infections that can cause this type of reaction include sexually transmitted diseases, yeast infections and other pelvic infections. They can lead to urethral compression, inflammation and problems with the local nerves.

7. Other Potential Causes

If you have been immobile for a long time, this can weaken your muscles and lead to problems like urinary retention. Other issues like nerve diseases, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, chronic obstructions and urinary incontinence can all lead to urinary retention.

Treatments When You Feel the Need to Pee, But Can’t

Again, your first goal should always be to find the cause of your symptom. While you can treat the symptom, the only way the symptom will actually go away is if you treat the cause as well. You should make an appointment with your doctor to figure out the cause of your problem. While you wait for that appointment, there are a few things that you can do to speed things along. If you take medications that harm the functioning of your urinary system, you may need to talk to your doctor about switching medications.

1. Try a Warm Bath

Take a warm shower or fill your tub full of warm water. This will help your muscles to relax and can help stimulate urinary flow.

2. Use a Foley’s Catheter

In severe, acute cases, your doctor may give you a Foley’s catheter so that you can drain your bladder. Normally, your bladder is able to hold about 400 ml. If you have retained more urine than this amount, your doctor may use a catheter to drain your bladder until it returns to a normal size. Afterward, your doctor may recommend that you continue to use the catheter if they think that the problem will reoccur or depending on the underlying cause. Sometimes, the urine that is drained from your body may have a slightly pink or blood color. While this may be a minor issue that goes away on its own, you should keep an eye on it and make sure to discuss the symptom with your doctor.

3. Try Medication

There are some medications that can help to treat urinary problems. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors help by shrinking the prostate gland and limiting urinary problems that were caused by the prostate being too large. Alpha receptor blockers can help relax the neck muscles of the bladder to relieve an obstruction.

4. Implantable Devices

Some doctors may want to use implantable devices to stimulate the nerves that control your bladder. These devices help the bladder contract and relax when it is supposed to so that you can urinate.

5. Suprapubic

A urologist may recommend that you circumvent the urethra if the urethra is blocked. This is done through a cystoscopy procedure and involves a catheter being inserted into the bladder over your pubic bone through your skin. Certain dilators can also be used to open your urethral path enough for a catheter to pass through it.

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