Why Do I Feel a Constant Urge to Pee but Little Comes Out?

Do you feel the urge to pee, but only a little comes out? 

If you are busy doing something and don’t pay attention to the urge to pee, do you leak a bit? 

No matter how hard you’ve been trying not to pee, it never works. 

What do urges mean? Could this be some kind of water infection?

Having a constant urge to pee but little comes out is a more prevalent problem than you think. 

It can happen in both women and men. 

Many factors can lead to urination issues and a constant feeling of peeing. 

Here, you can figure out the different causes and practical ways to treat and prevent the problem. 

Why Do I Feel the Urge to Pee but Little Comes Out?

On average, a typical adult bladder holds from 400 to 700 ml of urine. Normal urination patterns vary from person to person. But, many adults are voiding 5 to 6 times a day. An average urinary output during 24 hours is 1200 to 1500 ml. (1)

Urinary frequency can happen either because of a decreased bladder capacity (less than 200 ml) or increased urine volume. If you have an urge to pee but little comes out, it could result from an infection on another health problem. 

Having a constant need to pee without emptying completely can happen due to an enlarged prostate, pregnancy, urinary tract infection (UTI), or an overactive bladder. As soon as you empty the bladder, it feels like the urine builds up again. 

These difficulties urinating can worsen if you try to hold it in for as long as possible. That’s because the urges creep up again. 

When discussing urinary frequency in women, it’s important to point out that peeing often during pregnancy is entirely normal. Women need to go more often because of the physical and hormonal changes that happen in their bodies. 

The bladder, bowel, and uterus are located in a small area of the abdomen. As the baby grows bigger, it is normal for it to push against the bladder and increase urination frequency. 

But, if you can’t pee, have pain and discomfort when peeing, or the constant urge to pee is getting in the way of your daily routine, talk to a doctor. The trouble urinating or other issues when urinating can be triggered by a health problem. 

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The symptoms of frequent urination in women and men will vary based on what’s causing the problem of urine flow. 

Some of the classic signs of symptom urgency include:

  • Having to pee every 30 minutes.
  • Urinating 8 or more times a day. (2)
  • Waking up more than 2 times in the middle of the night to pee.
  • The urges to pee and bladder pressure are hard to control.

Some of these signs are also typical water infection symptoms. These include urinating more often at night (nocturia), burning sensations when weeing (dysuria), or having dark, cloudy, or powerful-smelling urine. 

Older age, which often coincides with menopause symptoms, can also have a debilitating impact on the pelvic floor and tissues. Research shows that around 35-40% of menopausal women have at least a single UTI episode that needs antibiotic treatment. (3)

Menopause can make you feel like you can’t stop peeing, mainly because you can have trouble controlling urination. It also increases the odds of UTIs, dryness, and vaginal itching. Constipation and UTI during menopause can go hand in hand. So, watching your diet and fluid intake is a good idea. 

Talk to a doctor if the constant trips to the toilet come with other symptoms, such as increased fatigue, thirst, appetite, vomiting, pain in the side or back, fever, unusual vaginal or penile discharge, cloudy urine, and blood in the urine.

Also, if you go a couple of days without emptying the bladder completely, you can’t urinate, or you hold the pee for a very long time, you could experience incontinence. So, consult a specialist if you are not peeing as much as you used to.

  • Note: Urinary incontinence is when you can’t control the bladder properly. This is not a condition – it is a symptom. Other factors increase the odds of urinary incontinence, such as obesity, vaginal birth, and pregnancy. 

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Peeing every 5 minutes, with little to no pee coming out, can result from frequent urination. And many causes can affect urine volume. 


Some patients experience this problem due to excessive water intake (overhydration). Like when you drink fluids well over 3 liters (100 ounces) a day. 

Bladder irritants

When struggling with bladder conditions, like hypersensitive bladder syndrome, the irritants you drink can make you pee a lot. The caffeine in tea and coffee can make the bladder more active and exacerbate the urgency. 

Diabetes or prostate problems

In pathological cases, urinary issues can occur due to diabetes mellitus or prostatitis. Then, there is prostate gland overflow, which can also cause bladder problems. The enlarged prostate can hinder the normal flow of urine. 


Inflammatory stimulation can cause problems with peeing. Sexually transmitted infections cause a massive inflammatory response that can significantly impact the genital tract. Both gonorrhea and chlamydia trigger frequent urination. (4)


Even a simple urinary tract infection can prompt a powerful and persistent urge to urinate, only for the patient to pass small amounts of urine. So, it’s important to clear up any urine infections that may lead to pain or urgency. 


Using diuretics can increase urine volume and cause urination problems. Having a decreased bladder capacity can cause similar problems. 

Reduced bladder capacity can happen during pregnancy, from large bladder stones, or any uterine compression. 

Urinary incontinence

If you are leaking urine and you feel you have little control over the bladder, then you might have urinary incontinence. There are different types of this problem, such as stress incontinence, which occurs when the muscles that keep the urine inside become weak. 

Another type is overflow incontinence. This means the body is creating more urine than the bladder can handle. 

Lastly is an overactive bladder, when the brain is telling the bladder to pee, but there is no need to. Bladder incontinence happens in both female and male patients. 

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When having a problem urinating, see a urologist or general healthcare practitioner. They can suggest adequate treatment options. Some of them can include: 

  • Anticholinergic medications, such as Oxybutynin, Darifenacin, or Fesoterodine.
  • Water infection treatment antibiotics, for example, Fosfomycin, Cephalexin, or Nitrofurantoin.
  • Kegel exercises for pelvic floor conditions.
  • Natural home remedies, like pumpkin seeds, Kohki tea, and foods high in fiber.

Other practical self-help treatment tips when dealing with a frequent urge to pee include avoiding alcohol, spicy foods, too much tea, and artificial sweeteners. If you always have to pee, talk to a specialist to get the right treatment plan for you. 


  • To manage difficulty peeing, keep a healthy weight.
  • Stop smoking. Cigarettes irritate the bladder muscle and can affect your bathroom schedule.
  • Avoid sweet, citrusy, or caffeinated products when peeing every 10 minutes. 


When you have problems with peeing, like discomfort, leaks, going too much or too little – that’s when you start noticing changes in your day-to-day life. 

Many causes can lead to a frequent urge to pee. If the bladder emptying is causing you problems, talk to a specialist. They can help you treat the problem and manage the symptoms.

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  1. Wrenn K. Dysuria, Frequency, and Urgency. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 181. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK291/
  2. Zhang Y, Wang XD, Song Y, Peng R, Tang T, Li M, Yu Z, Ji Y, Niu J. Epidemiology of Frequent/Urgent Urination in Older Adults in China: A Multicenter, Cross-Sectional Study. Front Public Health. 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8452895/ 
  3. Mainini G, Passaro M, Schiattarella A, Franciscis P, Donna MCD, Trezza G. Prevention and treatment of cystitis during menopause: efficacy of a nutraceutical containing D-mannose, inulin, cranberry, bearberry, Olea europaea, Orthosiphon and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Prz Menopauzalny. 2020 Sep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7573332/
  4. Mwatelah R, McKinnon LR, Baxter C, Abdool Karim Q, Abdool Karim SS. Mechanisms of sexually transmitted infection-induced inflammation in women: implications for HIV risk. J Int AIDS Soc. 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6715949/

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