Urination - difficulty with flow


Difficulty starting or maintaining a urine stream is called urinary hesitancy.


Urinary hesitancy affects people of all ages and occurs in both sexes. However, it is most common in older men with an enlarged prostate gland.

Urinary hesitancy most often develops slowly over time. You may not notice it until you are unable to urinate (called urinary retention). This causes swelling and discomfort in your bladder.


The most common cause of urinary hesitancy in older men is an enlarged prostate. Almost all older men have some trouble with dribbling, weak urine stream, and starting urination.

Another common cause is infection of the prostate or urinary tract. Symptoms of a possible infection include:

The problem can also be caused by:

Home Care

Steps you can take to care for yourself include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you notice urinary hesitancy, dribbling, or a weak urine stream.

Call your provider right away if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will take your medical history and do an exam to look at your pelvis, genitals, rectum, abdomen, and lower back.

You may be asked questions such as:

Tests that may be performed include:

Treatment for urinary hesitancy depends on the cause, and may include:

Review Date: 8/26/2017
Reviewed By: Jennifer Sobol, DO, Urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.