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Bladder Discomfort

Bladder Discomfort

Bladder pain can occur due to a number of factors. This HealthHearty post explains the causes and suggests treatment options for this condition.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Pain or a burning sensation in the bladder indicates the possibility of an infection. However, one should understand that this discomfort is a symptom, and not a disease. It can be indicative of a number of diseases, ranging from urinary tract infections to bladder cancer.

Causes of Bladder Pain

Bladder Infection: One of the most common causes of bladder infection is the bacteria Escherichia coli. More often than not, this bacteria passes through the urethra and reaches the bladder, leads to an infection and causes discomfort. The most common route of entry for this bacteria into the urethra is sexual intercourse. It may enter the urethra from the vagina, and infiltrate into the bladder.

Pregnancy: Bladder discomfort during pregnancy is a common complaint. This is because, the enlarged uterus carrying the baby, often impinges on the bladder. As a result, the bladder is unable to hold large amount of urine at a time, thus, making this the most common cause of frequent urination.

Distended Bladder: Distended bladder is a condition that causes discomfort without infection, because the person is unable to urinate. The bladder gets filled to its capacity, but due to the person's inability to urinate, the distended bladder causes pain and discomfort. There may be different causes leading to this condition, including obstructions due to calcium deposits (kidney stones), neurogenic disorder, sphincter malfunction, pharmacologic side effects, and psychogenic causes.

Interstitial Cystitis: Interstitial cystitis is a condition where there is inflammation of the bladder and the inner bladder lining, which may occur as a urinary tract infection, or may occur with another autoimmune disease, like scleroderma or fibromyalgia. Interstitial cystitis leads to bladder spasms which are quite painful and cause a lot of pain in bladder. They can also lead to bladder frequency, lowered bladder capacity and urinary incontinence. This condition is relatively difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms that the patient exhibits are very similar to those seen in most urinary tract infections.

Kidney Infection: Sometimes, infections of other parts of the urinary tract, like kidney infections, may be wrongly diagnosed as bladder infections, due to the patient complaining of pain. Often, if there are kidney stones, then there is obstruction of flow of urine from the kidneys through the ureters and into the bladder, which may make the patient experience pain. Often, the best way to diagnose this condition is to take an x-ray and check for the exact location of the renal calculi.

Symptoms Accompanying Bladder Pain
  • In case of bladder infections, there may be a change in the urine color, like blood in urine (hematuria)
  • Pain during urination
  • Irritation and itchiness during urination
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Although the main symptoms of bladder infection are discomfort and frequent urination, sometimes, the person may even try to avoid urination, as it may be very painful
  • If the pain is due to kidney infections, then the accompanying symptoms may be systemic, like fever, chills, nausea etc.
Treatment Options

The treatment will depend on the underlying disease causing the discomfort as mentioned before. Bladder discomfort is merely a symptom, and there is no point treating a symptom, while letting the disease spread freely. Hence, after a detailed diagnosis, which will be done after running a series of tests, including blood tests, urine tests, and taking various x-rays, the treatment plan will be chalked out accordingly.

Thus, bladder pain is merely a symptom that can be indicative of a grave underlying urinary tract infection or a chronic bladder infection. Hence, if the pain and discomfort persists for long, it is best to consult a urologist, so that the condition is diagnosed and treated at the earliest.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.