Welcome to this Decision Guide about Difficulty Passing Urine.
Difficulty passing urine is a common problem. It can be caused by conditions that affect the kidneys, bladder or prostate gland (in men). Urinary tract infections, prostate problems, and kidney stones are common triggers for this problem to develop. In some people, more than one condition is present.
Anyone who experiences difficulty passing urine for more than 24 to 48 hours should see a doctor. This guide is intended to provide helpful information while you are awaiting evaluation for this problem, or to add to what you may have already learned after you have seen your doctor.
Please keep in mind that this information cannot replace a face-to-face evaluation with your own health care provider.
Difficulty passing urine can be triggered by different problems in men and women. Only men have a prostate gland (which can become infected or enlarged), whereas women are more prone to simple bladder infections (cystitis). Therefore, it's helpful to start by finding out if you are a woman or a man.
Are you a woman or a man?
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.