8 Causes of Bladder Problems in Men

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
group of men

Bladder problems are common in men. Most involve urination—such as having trouble urinating or going too often. But you don’t have to live with bladder problems. In most cases, they can be treated. The first step is to find out what’s causing the problem. Here are eight common causes of bladder problems in men.

1. Age

As we age, our muscles become less strong. The muscles in the bladder are no exception. Weak muscles can lead to leaking urine or not being able to empty your bladder fully. 

2. Enlarged Prostate Gland

Older men are more likely to have an enlarged prostate gland, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). An enlarged prostate is one of the leading causes of incontinence in men. When the prostate gets larger, it presses on the urethra, the tube through which urine leaves the body. This can cause many problems with urination including:

  • Decreased urine stream
  • Dribbling after urinating
  • Emptying your bladder often, especially at night
  • Feeling like your bladder is not empty after urinating
  • Having trouble starting to urinate
  • Needing to urinate as soon as you have the urge
  • Pushing or straining to urinate

3. Overactive Bladder

About 30% of men in the United States have overactive bladder (OAB). OAB is the name for a group of symptoms related to problems urinating. Anyone can have OAB, but men who have had prostate problems are more likely to have it. Other situations that can lead to OAB include medication side effects, consuming too much caffeine and alcohol, and kidney problems.

The main symptom of OAB is an uncontrollable urge to urinate. The urge is so sudden that you may not get to the bathroom in time. Other symptoms of OAB include:

  • Frequent urination (more than eight times a day)
  • Leaking urine
  • Urinating more than once a night

4. Diabetes

Having diabetes can cause problems with the nerves that control the bladder. This can cause any of the following symptoms: 

  • Having a sudden, strong urge to urinate
  • Leaking urine
  • Not being able to empty your bladder completely
  • Urinating more than eight times a day or twice or more at night

5. Interstitial Cystitis

Although it’s more common in women, about 1.6 million men in the United States have this bladder condition. Interstitial cystitis (IC) can cause pain or pressure in the bladder and frequent urination. Some people with IC have a constant urge to urinate. It can also cause pain in the back, pelvic area, stomach, testicles, and penis. 

6. Medications

Some medicines can cause bladder problems. Ask your doctor whether any of the medicines you take can cause this side effect. Some common culprits include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Diuretics
  • Laxatives
  • Tranquilizers

7. Cancer Treatments

If you’re having treatment for cancer, any type of cancer, you may have a higher risk of bladder problems. Some chemotherapy drugs can lead to bladder problems and irritation in your bladder, causing the following symptoms:

  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Having a sudden, strong urge to urinate
  • Urinating more often than usual
  • Urine that is a reddish or bloody color

8. Health Conditions

People who have certain health conditions are more likely to have bladder problems. This includes those who have:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injury

When to See Your Doctor

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, talk with your doctor. Depending on what’s causing your problem, your doctor can help you find relief. Bladder problems are often treated with medicine, exercises and surgery.

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  1. What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-(bph)
  2. What is Urinary Incontinence? Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-incontinence
  3. IWhat is Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome? Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/interstitial-cystitis
  4. What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)? Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/overactive-bladder-(oab)
  5. Sexual and Urologic Problems of Diabetes. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/sexual-urologic-problems-diabetes...
  6. Chemotherapy. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/chemotherapy/index
Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Aug 2
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