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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Difficulty with Bladder or Bowel Emptying

Voiding Dysfunction

Difficulty emptying the bladder is one form of voiding dysfunction. It is the inability to completely empty the bladder. There are multiple causes of this condition. The treatments vary depending on the cause, and may include:

  • Using physical therapy to train the muscles that aid in urination
  • Inserting a catheter intermittently to help release the buildup of urine
  • Using a sacral nerve stimulator to help the bladder contract
  • Undergoing surgery if the difficulty is associated with a prolapse blocking or kinking the urethra.

Defecatory Dysfunction/Evacuation Disorders

Difficulty emptying the bowel is also known as defecatory dysfunction. It can be caused by spastic pelvic floor muscles or an anatomical problem. Treatment options will be discussed after diagnosis of the cause. A physical examination and a test called a defecography can help to diagnose the cause of defecatory dysfunction.


Last UpdateDecember 6, 2011