Post-micturition dribble is the technical term for something my friends and I used to call ‘splash-back’ (though in retrospect, this was clearly a misnomer). This is the last few droplets of pee that often linger after we think we’re done in the toilet and which can then cause you to inadvertently wet your pants after you’ve pulled up the zipper.
This is not only a highly uncomfortable phenomenon that leaves you feeling itchy and wet downstairs, it’s also a very embarrassing one. Especially if you’re wearing light-colored chinos or shorts which then show the growing wet patch.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do about this problem and it’s relatively simple to fix.
What Is Post-Micturition Dribble?
This condition is actually not rare. It has been found that around 6% of adults between 18 and 79 experience the problem and while it’s more common for men, it can affect women too. As we get older, it’s slightly more likely to occur. What’s more, it’s generally thought that this problem affects more men than the stats reveal – seeing as it’s not something most guys want to admit!
The good news is that this problem is not caused by hygiene issues, nor is it caused by problems with the prostate or bladder. Unlike stress incontinence, it also has nothing to do with your pelvic floor muscles – though as you’ll see, strengthening this muscle does help.
Instead, the cause is more to do with gravity and the shape of the penis…
Causes of Dribble
In men, this dribble is caused by the shape of the penis. Rather than running straight downward, the penis has a slight ‘tip’ in the middle of it which can create a pool where urine collects. There’s a muscle surrounding the urethra called the bulbocavernosus, which has the job of squeezing those last few droplets out. However, this muscle can lose its tone over time – especially as we get older (there are some claims that excessive masturbation may also weaken this muscle). As a result, urine builds up in the dip and then can spill out at unhelpful junctures.
The solution for men is to strengthen that muscle. And to do this, you just need to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, as these are connected.
Most of us are familiar with how to do this by now but to briefly recap, the pelvic floor muscle is the one you feel contracting when you try to stop peeing mid flow. By tensing this muscle and holding it for a few seconds at a time, you can strengthen it and thus strengthen the bulbocavernosus.
Meanwhile, guys should also focus on ensuring they are doing whatever they can to empty their urethra before putting their penis back away. A lot of us feel self-conscious to shake or rub too much in public urinals for which there is one simple solution: use the cubicles instead. And reportedly, if you press on the space between your testicles and anus (the perineum – or ‘gooch’) then you can force the last bit out when you shake.
Note that women also have a similar problem in some cases. This is usually caused by anatomic abnormalities such as a diverticulum – a tiny pouch on the wall of the urethra. In these cases, surgery is often necessary.