Ask the Doc: Why do I get after-dribble?


Why do I get dribble after urinating?


Dribbling a drop or two after having a wee is probably the most common of the many lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) that men experience. Other than the embarrassment it might cause, there’s probably nothing to worry about though, unless your after-dribble is associated with other urinary problems.

There’s a difference between after-dribble (your doctor would know it as postmicturition dribble) and terminal dribble, which is when your flow slows to a dribble before you finish your wee. After-dribble happens when you’ve finished your wee — you might even zip up and walk away from the toilet, and then a bit leaks out.

Lots of people refer to their urinary system as ‘the plumbing’ or ‘the water works’, but your urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the end of your penis) isn’t really like a pipe or a hose. Your urethra doesn’t usually stay open when there’s no urine flowing through it, so there’s not ‘always some left in the pipe’.

Your urethra starts at the base of your bladder and extends downwards, and then curves slightly upward (making a sort-of shallow J-shape) before it gets to the base of your penis. If the muscles around the lower part of the J-shaped bit (this is called the bulbous or bulbar urethra) don’t contract well, a bit of wee can remain there after you finish. Then when you move, it can get squeezed out.

If you get after-dribble regularly, it might help for you to do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor. Some people recommend pressing with your fingers just behind your scrotum and massaging forwards to move any wee out of your bulbous urethra when you finish urinating.

After-dribble is more of a bother for some people than others. It probably affects around 1 in 10 men, but it becomes more common as men age (like most LUTS). If you have any concerns or questions about after-dribble or any other problem with ‘the water works’, it’s best to see your doctor.

A/Prof Tim Moss

Tim Moss

Biomedical research scientist

Associate Professor Tim Moss has PhD in physiology and more than 20 years’ experience as a biomedical research scientist. Tim stepped away from his successful academic career at the end of 2019, to apply his skills in turning complicated scientific and medical knowledge into information that all people can use to improve their health and wellbeing. Tim has written for and Scientific American’s Observations blog, which is far more interesting than his authorship of over 150 academic publications. He has studied science communication at the Alan Alda Centre for Communicating Science in New York, and at the Department of Biological Engineering Communication Lab at MIT in Boston.


Lower urinary tract symptoms
Prostate health
Urinary problems

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