Urology of Greater Atlanta

How To Empty Your Bladder Completely

Man unsure about how to empty his bladder properly.

Regardless of age, everyone needs to empty their bladder. However, it can become very stressful if you notice that you are unable to empty your bladder completely.

If you find yourself in this situation, our board-certified experts at Urology of Greater Atlanta can provide the assistance that you need. Schedule an appointment at one of our many locations throughout Georgia today!  

Emptying Your Bladder

Difficulty emptying your bladder is medically known as urinary retention. Your urinary system is designed to keep your body clean. If your bladder does not empty completely, it can have an impact on your overall health.

Incomplete bladder emptying can also result in urinary incontinence, bladder overstretching, and possible kidney failure.

Different Types of Retention

You can have acute urinary retention, where this comes on suddenly. However, you can also have chronic urinary retention, which means you have this condition for a longer time.

The most chronic form of bladder emptying problems occurs most frequently in older men. However, it can also occur in women.


Why Does the Bladder Not Empty Completely?

There can be several reasons why your bladder may not be fully empty. The following medical conditions can affect bladder function and hinder your bladder from emptying completely:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Prostate problems (including prostate enlargement)
  • Neurological disorders
  • Bladder infection
  • Certain medications that you take for other conditions can also cause you to have complications when emptying your bladder
  • Blockage (in the case of men, it can be caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia, which happens when you have an enlarged prostate that is not cancerous)

Why Is it Important to Empty the Bladder?

Emptying your bladder is important for several reasons. One of the main reasons is to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can occur when bacteria builds up in your bladder and urinary system. Regularly emptying your bladder ensures that there is less stagnant urine in your system, reducing the risk of bacterial growth and infection.

Additionally, regularly emptying your bladder can also help prevent bladder and kidney stones. When urine sits in your bladder for too long or is not fully emptied, mineral deposits can form and can eventually solidify into stones. This can be very painful and may require medical intervention to treat.

An older man visiting a urologist in Atlanta about his urinary incontinence.

Tips for Emptying Your Bladder

  • The following tips can be used to help you to keep your bladder empty and healthy:

    1. Be in tune and listen to your body. If you feel the urge to go, it’s essential to head to the bathroom regardless of the amount of urine you think you have. Listening to your body and responding promptly can help avoid discomfort, stress on your bladder muscles or potential issues down the line.
    2. Do not push. Let the bladder contract naturally, without forcing it. Attempt to relax your pelvic floor muscles as much as possible.
  1. Try not to spend an excessive amount of time on the toilet. Make sure to give yourself adequate time to use the restroom, but not excessively. Lingering for too long can send a signal to your bladder that it needs to empty more frequently, potentially impacting its ability to fully empty.
  2. Stay hydrated by consuming an ample amount of water. The World Health Organization advises that individuals consume anywhere from two to 16 liters of water daily to maintain adequate hydration levels, which can aid in flushing out harmful toxins and waste from the body. Additionally, drinking sufficient water contributes to more frequent urination.
  3. Maintain regular bowel movements. When you’re constipated and congested, your colon can exert pressure on the bladder. This pressure can impede the complete elimination of urine, making voiding harder.
  4. Avoid hovering. It’s common to feel hesitant about sitting on a dirty toilet seat, but squatting or hovering can cause some urinary problems by engaging your pelvic floor muscles and creating dysfunctional voiding. To avoid this, it’s best to sit all the way down on the seat, as it allows your pelvic muscles to relax.
  5. Eat a healthy diet. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is key to keeping your body in good shape, including your urinary system. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, healthy eating should involve a variety of food groups. 
  6. Elevate your feet or lean forward when using the bathroom.  This ensures that your urine stream flows straight down into the toilet bowl at the most effective angle possible.
  7. Engage in pelvic floor muscle training. Consistently performing Kegel exercises offers an effective solution for gradually improving symptoms of urinary incontinence or bladder control. Physical therapy can also help you control your symptoms.
  8. Be conscious to avoid bladder irritants. The foods and drinks you consume can significantly impact your bladder health. It is recommended to steer clear of coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, alcohol, citrus fruits, and certain spices.
  9. See a medical specialist. They can provide medical advice and possible medicinal recommendations if you can’t seem to empty your bladder fully or have additional bladder problems.

Learn How to Maintain a Healthy Bladder

It’s essential to seek medical advice if you are having trouble emptying your bladder completely. A healthcare professional can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan that suits your specific situation.

All our doctors at Urology of Greater Atlanta are board-certified and here to help. Schedule an appointment at one of our many locations throughout Georgia today!

Stockbridge, Country Club Drive

290 Country Club Drive Suite 100, Stockbridge, GA 30281

Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge Drive

4799 Blue Ridge Drive Suite 107, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Sandy Springs

1100 Lake Hearn Drive NE STE 320
Atlanta, GA 30342

Griffin, West College Street

230 West College Street Bldg. C, Griffin, GA 30224

Spivey Station

7823 Spivey Station Blvd Suite 210, Jonesboro, GA 30236


4143 Hospital Drive NE Covington, GA 30014