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Voiding Dysfunction

Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists

Located in Bellingham, WA - Serving the Pacific Northwest

Voiding dysfunction leads to problems like urinary urgency, frequent urination, and not being able to empty your bladder. Since these symptoms are shared by several urological disorders, it’s good to know that the doctors at Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists have extensive experience getting to the cause of the problem, then developing a customized treatment. If you need help with voiding dysfunction, call the office in Bellingham, Washington, or book an appointment online today.

Voiding Dysfunction

What causes voiding dysfunction?

Voiding dysfunction is a general term that refers to problems affecting your ability to urinate. There’s a fair amount of overlap between voiding dysfunction and other urinary tract problems like urinary retention and urinary incontinence. In many cases of voiding dysfunction, the problem lies in muscles that control urination, but there are many causes.

Voiding dysfunction in men often occurs due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH, more commonly called an enlarged prostate, develops over time as the prostate continues to grow during adulthood. As the prostate enlarges, it blocks the urethra.

Women are more likely to develop voiding dysfunction due to overactive pelvic floor muscles or underactive bladder muscles that don’t contract well enough to eliminate urine. An underactive bladder can be caused by numerous problems including nerve damage and diabetes.

Voiding dysfunction in men and women can arise from conditions such as hyperactive pelvic floor muscles, urinary tract stones, a bladder or prostate infection, and damaged nerves.


What symptoms might I develop due to voiding dysfunction?

Voiding dysfunction causes a variety of symptoms that are referred to as lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). The symptoms associated with LUTS occur in your bladder as it stores urine, while you’re urinating, and after urinating.

You might only have one of these problems, all of them, or any combination of symptoms:

  • Urinary urgency
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Incontinence
  • Difficulty starting to urinate
  • Inability to empty your bladder
  • Weak stream when you urinate
  • Urinary dribbling

All these symptoms occur in women and men, although men are more likely to have difficulty urinating.


How is voiding dysfunction treated?

With numerous possible causes of voiding dysfunction, your doctor at Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists performs a variety of urodynamic tests to evaluate urine flow, bladder pressure, and the amount of urine left in your bladder. Ultimately, your treatment depends on the underlying cause.

These are only a few examples of treatments often used to help patients with voiding dysfunction:

  • Axonics® - Sacral neuromodulation
  • Pelvic floor therapy
  • Bladder training
  • Intermittent self-catheterization
  • Muscle relaxants
  • BPH treatment
  • InterStim® - Sacral neuromodulation
  • Botox® injection
  • Nerve stimulation

When your symptoms persist despite conservative treatments, your doctor might recommend surgical intervention.

If you develop urinary tract symptoms, call Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists or book an appointment online.