The causes of urination problems depend on the specific type of urinary difficulty. Some common urination problems are pain and burning when urinating and frequent urination. Both of these can often be caused by urinary tract or kidney infections. Another common urination problem is stress incontinence, which is usually caused by a weak bladder or weakness of the muscles that control urine. Kidney stones are also responsible for many urination problems.
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria entering into the urinary tract through the urethra, and these infections can cause a wide range of urination problems. The urethra is a tube that goes from the bladder and ends in the genitals, and is used to dispense urine outside the body. A great deal of bacteria is usually present in the area of the genitals, and it is not unusual for these bacteria to enter the urethra. Urinary track infections are much more common in women, because the opening to the urethra is in such close proximity to the anus, another high bacterial area.
Sometimes bladder infections spread to the kidneys. When this happens, the symptoms include burning and pain while urinating, and in many cases include a low throbbing backache. In both kidney and urinary tract infections, the urine is often cloudy and may even contain traces of blood. Urinary tract infections and kidney infections are usually treated with antibiotics and sulfur medications. In most cases, with treatment, these infections clear up within a few days.
Stress incontinence describes a condition of being unable to control the urge to urinate. It is usually an age-related condition and is much more common in women than in men. In many cases, stress incontinence is caused by weakening of the muscles that control urination. These muscles can be weakened by childbirth, or can sometimes be a normal part of the aging process. Sometimes exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles improve the condition.
Kidney stones are hard masses of crystallized acid that separate from the urine while it is still in the kidneys, and they are considered the most painful of all urination problems. Affecting both men and women, these stones are extremely painful, regardless of their size. Larger stones sometimes have to be dissolved for them to pass through the urinary tract. Sometimes stones will dissolve when excessive amounts of water are consumed, but in some cases, shock wave therapy may be necessary. Though it is rare, occasionally kidney stones must be surgically removed.