The Sexual Health Center

Understanding Female Voiding Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

When your bladder muscle and urethra are not in proper sync you will experience a voiding dysfunction. Your lower urinary tract consists of your bladder and urethra and this urinary tract stores and expels your urine timely. But when you are facing a voiding dysfunction, your pelvic muscles will be overworked with no time to relax, and this will cause difficulty in emptying your bladder. 

Urinary Incontinence In Women

Females are more prone to urinary incontinence and often face issues with both holding the bladder and passing the urine. When you are having a voiding dysfunction, it affects your bladder’s ability to empty itself, and this results in urinary incontinence. This urine incontinence causes bladder pressure and weakens the surrounding muscles that control and regulate the urine flow. 

Female Voiding Dysfunction Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Voiding dysfunction in women can lead to four types of urine continence namely Urge incontinence, stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, and mixed incontinence.

When your bladder muscles contract involuntarily, you will feel the need to pass urine immediately and this is called Urge Incontinence. 

If you are facing the problem of leaking urine when you cough or sneeze or laugh, it means the muscles that regulate the flow of urine have weakened and this is called stress incontinence. 

Sometimes voiding dysfunction can cause your bladder to be filled at full capacity and this causes urine to leak. This is called overflow incontinence. 

When you have any two or more of the above-mentioned incontinence together, you are said to be having mixed incontinence.

Symptoms of female voiding dysfunction :

The common symptoms associated with female voiding dysfunction are as follows.

1. Increased pain while urinating 

Painful urination is the first side effect of voiding dysfunction. This is also referred to as Dysuria. When your bladder gets affected, you will be experiencing painful urination. This is the first sign for you to consult your medical expert. 

2. Burning while urinating 

If you notice any intense burning while you are urinating, it is an indication that your urinary tract and bladder are affected. The burning sensation is a common sign of a Urinary Tract infection. To reduce this symptom, start consuming adequate quantities of water. The more water you drink, the better it will benefit your bladder. 

3. Frequent Urination:

When you are facing voiding dysfunction, you will feel the need to urinate more frequently as compared to the normal frequency. Some might even feel the need to urinate every 5-10 minutes and this happens as the muscles that support your bladder and hold your urine become weak causing the urge to urinate more frequently.

4. Difficulty starting to urinate:

If you are constantly feeling the need to urinate, but having difficulty in starting the process, this is because of the contraction happening in your bladder muscles that makes it difficult for you to start urinating. 

5. Inability to empty bladder:

Voiding dysfunction will put you in a position where you are unable to urinate fully and always feel fullness in your bladder. This is one of the most common side effects reported by many women and this always keeps your bladder full making it uneasy for you to lead your normal day-to-day activities without interruption.

6. Blood in the urine:

Another common side effect of voiding dysfunction is having blood spots while urinating. When you start noting regular spots of blood, it is an indication that the urinary tract is affected and you have to visit your medical expert at the earliest to treat the infection at the initial stage. You will also notice pain in your abdomen and lower back when you are suspected of voiding dysfunction and most often your urine will be cloudy and carries a foul smell with it.

Voiding dysfunction treatments:

With the advancement in the medical field,  Voiding dysfunction is no longer untreatable. Both surgical and nonsurgical procedures are available to treat your voiding dysfunction. Depending on the extent of the dysfunction, your medical expert will prescribe the treatment plan that best suits your body. 

Oral medication:

Oral medication is one of the simplest and most preferred treatments that is undergone by many as it tends to treat voiding dysfunction with the intake of a few pills. Compared to surgical procedures, oral medications are less risky and do not damage your body. Intake of pills works at a rapid pace to treat your dysfunction without any added complications and hence is chosen as the first and foremost treatment option. Only when oral medications do not yield the desired results, your medical expert will start looking out for other treatment options.


Voiding dysfunction can be treated by injecting Botox into your bladder muscle. This helps in relaxing the triggers that overreact to your bladder and cause incontinence.  Usually, this Botox treatment is carried on for 3 months. 

Stimulating nerves:

This treatment is also referred to as neuromodulation therapy. Under neuromodulation therapy, electrodes are used to block the pain signals and this helps in preventing pain and any burning sensation you might experience while urinating. In addition to treating your bladder pain, neuromodulation therapy also creates a therapeutic effect in your body.

Sacral neuromodulation (SNS)

Sacral neuromodulation is the preferred treatment option to control the frequency of urination. Your bladder is connected to a sacral nerve that is attached to the base of your spine and by targeting this sacral nerve the urge to urinate frequently is mitigated. By transmitting signals between your bladder and brain this treatment activates the brain cells and controls the OAB symptoms that are responsible for the frequency and urgency of urinating.


Surgery is the last option that your medical expert will advise and is prescribed only in adverse situations. Medical experts tend to avoid surgical procedures as much as possible and only adhere to them when it is impossible to cure voiding dysfunctioning via nonsurgical treatment options.

Both minimal invasive procedures, as well as extensive surgery, can be prescribed depending on the severity of the voiding dysfunction.


Voiding dysfunction has become common in recent times and 7 out of 10 women are prone to it. It is important to have closer attention to changes in your bladder control once you cross age 30 and look out for the potential symptoms of voiding dysfunction as this will help you to diagnose and get appropriate treatments at the earliest when your voiding dysfunction is at initial stage and helps to recover faster.

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