What is Urinary Dysfunction?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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The term urinary dysfunction can be used to refer to a range of conditions and disorders involving a person's bladder and urinary tract. For example, the term may be used to refer to such issues as urinary incontinence. It can also include conditions in which the flow of urine is obstructed or slower than normal. An individual may also be diagnosed with urinary retention, which is essentially the inability to empty one's bladder completely. Sometimes a person may even develop a type of urinary dysfunction that is marked by pain during urination.

Urinary incontinence is a very common type of urinary dysfunction that is marked by the loss of a person's ability to control his bladder. It can affect both men and women and may be diagnosed in individuals of all ages. There are different types of urinary incontinence, and some of them may be more severe than others. For example, some people have a form of incontinence that causes them to leak urine when they laugh, cough, or sneeze. Others may experience a sudden and intense urge to urinate and find themselves unable to make it to the bathroom.


One type of urinary incontinence causes a person to leak a bit of urine continuously. In another case, a person may have a physical or medical condition that interferes with his ability to make it to the restroom quickly enough to avoid accidents. In some cases, people may even be incontinent because they do not feel the urge to urinate, and therefore, may begin to urinate unexpectedly.

Another type or urinary dysfunction is referred to as urinary retention, a condition that affects both genders but is more common in men over 50. When a person has urinary retention, he can usually urinate but may experience difficulty with getting the flow of urine started or fully emptying his bladder. An individual with this condition may urinate but then feel as if he still has to use the bathroom once he's done. Another individual with this condition may experience the urge to use the bathroom frequently but have little output, despite frequent trips to the toilet. Some people may have the acute form of this condition, which is an emergency situation marked a full bladder and the inability to empty it.

Painful bladder syndrome is a chronic type of urinary dysfunction. An individual with this condition typically experiences such symptoms as abnormal bladder pressure and pain in the bladder. Some people with this condition even experience discomfort or pain in other parts of the pelvis. Individuals with this condition may also experience pain during sexual activity. Men, women, and children may all develop painful bladder syndrome, but it is seen most frequently in women.


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