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Why Do I Dribble When I Pee?

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If you finish peeing and then dribble after you’ve zipped up your pants, know you’re not alone. Urinary dribbling, also known as post-void dribbling, occurs when you leak urine immediately after urinating, and affects up to 58% percent of men. Several conditions can cause dribbling. Read on to learn what these conditions are and how to treat post-pee dripping.

What is post-void dribbling?

So, you’ve headed to the bathroom to answer the call of nature. You finish your business, you think you’ve emptied your bladder, but unexpectedly, a little bit more urine dribbles out after you’re done. Even waiting a moment and shaking the penis before zipping up doesn’t always stop it.

This is what happens when you are experiencing post-void dribbling. Essentially what’s going on here is that there’s a little bit of urine left in your urethra after you’ve finished peeing, which empties as gravity takes over. Imagine pinching a straw with water in it. When you let it go, a similar thing is happening.

Causes of urinary dribbling

Urinary dribble is common in older men because the muscles surrounding the urethra – the long tube in the penis that enables urine to pass out of the body – don’t squeeze as hard as they once did.

But there could be other potential causes to this pee problem, including:

  • Urethral narrowing. An abnormality in the urethra that leads to it narrowing and trapping urine inside, only for the pee to come out later.
  • Prostatic urethral trapping. This happens when an enlarged prostate traps urine behind the bladder sphincter below the prostate. This trapped pee eventually leaks out after you've already urinated. Also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, this condition is experienced by up to 80% of men over the age of 70.
  • Neuromuscular dysfunction of the urethral muscle. When the muscles that usually contract to help you pee weaken due to age or certain neurological conditions, it becomes more difficult to move all the urine forward out of the penis.
  • Bladder overactivity. After urinating, the bladder can contract with overactivity causing some leaking.

How to stop dribbling after urinating

If you are dribbling urine after peeing, consider double voiding. In other words, after you’ve finished urinating, try to push out a little more pee.

It could be that your pelvic floor muscles are too tight and you're not actually fully emptying. In this case, additional pushing isn’t going to help expel more urine because your pelvic floor is too tight. Just as important as being able to do a strong Kegel, or pelvic floor muscle contraction, is to let go of that contraction.

In this situation, you may want to see a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help you learn how to fully empty your bladder and let go of those pelvic floor muscles so you can stop leaking after you pee.

If you notice that you strain when you pee or that your urine comes out in different directions, ask your doctor about possible urethral narrowing, which could be the result of a urethral injury or from another cause.

If you have an enlarged prostate, however, you may experience additional symptoms such as straining to urinate, urine hesitancy (starting and stopping), a weak urinary stream, frequency of urination or even waking up in the middle of the night to urinate. If you experience symptoms like these, it’s important to seek medical attention with a urologist to explore further.

Ready to make an appointment with a urologist? Find a doctor here.

If you're not experiencing any other symptoms besides the bothersome dribbling, the condition may be the result of neuromuscular dysfunction. Further examination may be required.

Sometimes, bulbar urethral massage may help. This is where you take your fingertips about an inch behind your scrotum and push upward toward the base of the penis while applying pressure to massage the excess urine out. Try it once or twice after urinating to see if this prevents any further dribbling.

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