Delay in Start of Urination? --- Causes
and Remedies

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Last updated June 26, 2018

S. Callahan, Contributing Columnist

If you experience a delay in starting to urinate, you belong to a club of
millions. Many men experience this problem but few talk about it. Called
"urinary hesitancy", the problems affects all men though it is more
common among men over 50. What causes urinary hesitancy? Is
urinary hesitancy a serious problem or will it go away on its own?

Urinary Hesitancy Is Sometimes a Prelude to Complete Shutdown

Urinary hesitancy can lead to a complete inability to urinate. If you
can't urinate at all, you have "urinary retention".  There are no reliable
statistics on how many men suffer from urinary retention but, among
men with an enlarged prostate, the incidence is above 13%, according
to a study from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

These numbers are known because these men have to use a catheter in
order to urinate.

There are a number of causes of urinary hesitancy and urinary
retention. We have collected the most common.

An Enlarged Prostate Is the Number One Cause of Urinary Hesitancy in

enlarged prostate , called benign prostatic hypertrophy,  is the
leading cause of urinary hesitancy in men over the age of 50.  Estimates
are that 50% of men over 50 have this condition, according to the
Centers for Disease Control. If this is the cause of your urinary
hesitancy, it can easily be confirmed by a visit to your urologist.

Fortunately, having a prostate that has become so enlarged that it
interrupts your urine flow is not connected to your risk for prostate
cancer. But you can't rely on self-diagnosis. You simply have to get to a

Many health authorities and sources, including our own, have looked
into foods that help to reduce an enlarged prostate. Most of these
sources agree that eating a plant-based diet that features green leafy
vegetables, with the addition of salmon --- or other fish rich in omega-
3 fatty acids --- and Vitamin C, help to reduce your risk for an enlarged
prostate and may also reduce the enlarged prostate.

Other studies emphasize the need to maintain a healthy body weight
and to
avoid large abdominal fat.

Type 2 Diabetes Raises Your Risk for Urinary Retention

For your bladder to function properly requires a delicate coordination
between your the brain including your autonomic nervous system  and
the somatic nerves that supply your the bladder and urethra. A lot can
go wrong.

If you have Type 2 diabetes and develop nerve damage or nerve pain
(peripheral neuropathy), you have a 75 to 100% odds of also
developing bladder problems that include urinary retention, Ohio study

A Stroke Can Cause Urinary Retention

Again, anything that interferes with the normal functioning of your
brain will impact its ability to coordinate the function of your bladder.
Clearly, a stroke interrupts normal brain function.

Up to 56 percent of patients who have suffered a stroke will experience
urinary retention, according to the Ohio study.

Until your brain heals, you will likely continue to experience urinary
hesitancy or urinary retention.  

To diagnose a neurological cause of your urination problems, the Ohio
study recommends

  • a general neurologic examination,

  • specific examinations related to bladder function, including the
    bulbo-cavernosus reflex (contraction of the bulbocavernosus
    muscle when the glans penis is squeezed), anal reflex (contraction
    of the anal sphincter when the surrounding skin is stroked),

  • an examination of voluntary contractions of the pelvic floor and

  • an examination of anal sphincter tone

Are There Any Foods You Can Eat to Increase Urine Flow?

Unfortunately, there are no foods that will improve urine flow, except
for the foods we've mentioned that may help to shrink and enlarged

Drinking more fluids may make the problem worse, especially if you
can't urinate at all. Before you decide to self-treat by increasing your
water intake, you have to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.


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An enlarged prostate is the
leading cause of urinary hesitancy.

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