Some medical conditions can make urination difficult, such as prostate problems or bladder infections. In these circumstances, a person should seek medical attention to address the underlying cause of their symptoms, instead of trying to force urination.
In most cases, a person can help prevent urination problems with some preparation, such as by drinking plenty of water before an appointment where urine samples are required.
However, there are times when a person needs to pee, either for a urine sample or other reason, and cannot prepare beforehand. Below are some techniques and tricks to help induce urination when needed.
Nine ways to induce urination
A person may need to try several techniques to induce urination.
There are several ways that a person may be able to force themselves to pee on demand.
These techniques may not work for everyone. A person may need to try several methods in order to find what works best for them.
The National Institutes of Health recommend the following techniques:
1. Tapping the area between navel and pubic bone
While sitting on the toilet, a person can tap the area located between the belly button and the pubic bone.
Using the fingertips, a person can gently but firmly tap the skin near the bladder every 30 seconds to encourage urination.
2. Bending forward
Bending forward while sitting on the toilet puts additional pressure on the bladder, which can encourage urination.
3. Placing a hand in warm water
Placing a hand in warm water can trigger the urge to pee. A person should do this while sitting on the toilet.
If the toilet is within reach of a sink or tub, a person can let warm water run from the tap over their hand.
4. Running water
The sound of water can trigger the need to urinate. A person having trouble urinating can turn on the bathroom sink before attempting to pee or flush the toilet before using it.
Some people find that playing recordings of running water can also have the same effect.
5. Drinking while trying to urinate
Drinking water or another low-sugar liquid while attempting to pee may also trigger the body to urinate.
People may need to drink several sips before trying to pee in order to get this technique to work.
Drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol is not recommended, as they can make a person more dehydrated.
6. Trying the Valsalva maneuver
The Valsalva maneuver involves pushing down as if trying to have a bowel movement. A person may find that using their forearm to push on the lower abdomen also helps.
People should avoid putting pressure directly on the bladder, as this can cause urine to back up into the kidneys and may cause an infection.
Simple exercises such as walking or doing jumping jacks can help a person urinate.
Before heading to the bathroom, a person may wish to do a few laps of the house or office to stimulate urination.
8. Massaging the inner thigh
Rubbing the inner thigh while on the toilet can help induce the need to pee. A person should gently massage the inside of their leg with their hands or fingers.
9. Using relaxation techniques
If a person is nervous or stressed about being unable to pee, they can try some basic relaxation techniques to encourage urination.
Keeping their eyes closed, a person can focus on relaxing the muscles, starting with the fingers and hands and working through all parts of the body. The goal is to relax the bladder and encourage urination.
Reasons to induce urination
Medical procedures may be a reason why a person needs to induce urination.
A person's nervous system is typically responsible for signaling when the bladder is full and should be emptied. The sensation is often one of fullness and pressure.
In most cases, a person can rely on these natural signals to know when urination must occur. However, there are times when urination needs to happen on demand, often for medical procedures.
Some of the most common reasons a person may need to pee on demand for a medical test include:
- drug testing
- radiologic or ultrasonic examinations
- urinalysis, urine culture, and blood studies
- cystoscopy, where a thin tube with a camera examines the bladder and urethra
- urodynamic studies, which assess how well the body stores and releases urine
Examples of urodynamic studies include uroflowmetry, cystometrogram (CMG), urethral pressure profiling, and electromyography.
Following surgery, a person may experience a condition called neurogenic bladder. This is when the nerves no longer tell the brain when it is time to urinate.
Neurogenic bladder can cause a person to either hold urine for too long or have difficulty urinating because they cannot feel when their bladder is full.
When to see a doctor
People should seek medical attention if they experience trouble urinating several times a day. Not being able to pee can be a sign of underlying conditions that require treatment, such as urinary tract infections or prostate problems.
A person having difficulty urinating on demand for a urine test probably does not have an underlying medical condition. They may have recently urinated or may feel nervous. In these cases, the person can typically induce urination using the techniques listed above.
Trouble urinating on demand is not uncommon when visiting a doctor's office.
People can prepare for a urine test or other medical procedure by drinking more water and not urinating immediately before seeing the doctor. If this is not possible, they can use one or more of the techniques above to help induce urination.
Finally, if a person experiences problems with urinating outside of a medical examination, they should seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis. An untreated infection can have serious consequences, so it is crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible.