A man who has new-onset difficulty with urinating may immediately fear prostate cancer, cross his fingers and hope it’s only constipation.
- Difficulty with urination can present as a problem with urine stream.
- It can also be an issue of reduced urine output — fewer than normal trips to the toilet.
“Constipation can cause many men to have difficulty passing urine,” says Dana Rice, MD, a board certified urologist and creator of the UTI Tracker mobile app, which helps patients catalog daily urinary tract symptoms, medication and behavioral patterns, and offers personalized tips for UTI prevention.
Constipation is bad enough, but when difficulty urinating is tossed into the equation, it’s just one lousy situation. But it sure beats prostate cancer.
However, Dr. Rice adds, “Men who have enlarged prostates can particularly have issues.
“The prostate gland abuts the rectal vault, and if the rectum is full of hard or impacted stool it can place pressure on the urethra, making it harder to pass urine.”
A CT scan will reveal constipation and, if it’s interfering with urine output, will show this.
Sometimes constipation is so bad that it must be removed by a doctor’s fingers, and then the patient is given an enema to clean out the remainder of the feces.
Treatments and Prevention of Constipation
“Probiotics, high fiber diets and stool softeners are all ways to avoid constipation,” says Dr. Rice.
Probiotics are found in “live culture” yogurt and kefir, and in the form of pills. Foods high in fiber include lentils, peas, fruits and vegetables.
A sedentary lifestyle promotes constipation.
If you have a desk job, get up every 45 minutes or so and walk around for a few minutes.
If you don’t have a workout regimen, then start one. Excessive inertia is a risk factor for constipation.
For more information on the UTI Tracker, you can go to utitracker.com.
Dr. Rice is with Inova Medical Group in Fairfax, VA, and her clinical interests include bladder, kidney and prostate cancer, minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.