What Causes Bladder Discomfort?
I Feel Bladder Discomfort or Pain: Causes, Treatments and Tests
Bladder discomfort can be a nightmare, creating pain and urgency that interferes with your life. It’s important to discover the cause and treat it as soon as possible. Need to know what causes bladder inflammation, or the best ways to relieve your bladder pain? This information can help.
Bladder discomfort is a general complaint that may present in different ways. Discovering what causes discomfort in the bladder may require you to evaluate your symptoms by type. Write down the symptoms you have, as well as how often you experience them. These steps can help your doctor complete a picture of your condition.
Bladder Pain Lasts Until Urination
Bladder pain syndrome is a chief condition to consider when evaluating what causes bladder discomfort for you. It’s common to feel discomfort that grows until you begin urinating, and it can be associated with bladder spasms that increase feelings of urgency.
What causes bladder spasms? It involves a mismatch of nerve signals to the bladder, and it is a common symptom of interstitial cystitis. Millions of women suffer from interstitial cystitis. This condition makes patients feel the need to urinate frequently but be unable to void much urine.
Discomfort Around the Bladder
When you have chronic problems with bladder pain, you may notice that the organs surrounding your bladder are also painful. For example, you may feel pain in the vagina or elsewhere in the pelvis. It’s important to identify what causes bladder inflammation in this case, because it may be a condition like endometriosis.
Bladder Pain When Urinating
Many women are familiar with a urinary tract infection, which commonly creates pain during urination. Bacteria in the urethra are what cause bladder infections, which underscores the importance of prompt treatment. That said, understanding what causes discomfort in the bladder is key, because it may not be an infection.
Causes of Bladder Discomfort
What causes bladder discomfort? There is a list. Although a bladder infection is a common cause, repeated infections and pain independent of an infection may indicate a need for additional treatment. Common causes include:
- Bladder infection
- Bladder pain syndrome
- Interstitial cystitis
- Pelvic muscle atrophy
- Uterine prolapse
- Bladder prolapse
- Bladder cancer, although this condition is uncommon
Chemical exposure, chronic bladder inflammation and a family history are what causes bladder cancer. Since some of these conditions can be quite serious, it’s important not to dismiss your symptoms.
Treatment for Bladder Pain
Finding treatment for your bladder symptoms can be a process that takes a few appointments. The best solution for you depends on the cause and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following treatments:
- Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy for the pelvic floor
- Nerve stimulation or bladder instillation, which can decrease bladder urgency
- Surgery, usually reserved for severe cases
Your doctor will probably recommend treatment along with self-care activities you can do at home.
Test for Bladder Symptoms
To determine what causes bladder discomfort in your case, you’ll need to visit a doctor. It’s common for your primary care physician to refer you to a specialist, but they may be able to perform some testing in the initial visit. Common tests for bladder symptoms include:
- Physical exam, to identify sources of pain
- Urine testing for bladder infections or STIs
- Cystoscopy, which involves sending a tiny camera into the bladder
- Bladder distention, which involves filling the bladder up with fluid, a procedure typically performed under sedation
- Biopsy, which is typically done to test for cancer
If your bladder symptoms are severe or ongoing, you may need to complete a few different tests before your doctor finds the right diagnosis.
Self-Care for Bladder Pain and Discomfort
Many bladder symptoms have a limited set of treatments that can help. Even then, not all the treatments can prevent bladder pain from coming back. Your doctor may recommend that you try a few self-care tasks at home, such as:
- Limiting consumption of caffeine, alcohol and acidic or spicy foods
- Learning how to relax your pelvic muscles and practicing daily
- Changing clothes styles to something looser
- Using mental techniques to train your bladder to wait longer to urinate
One of the best things you can do for repeated infections and inflammation is to find out what causes bladder infections for you, and change those behaviors. This might include scheduling trips to the bathroom (so you don’t hold it for too long), increasing your water intake or urinating after sex.
Bladder pain can be a difficult condition, but there are ways to treat it. If your bladder pain is caused by other pelvic conditions, such as organ prolapse, FemiCushion could help. This non-invasive device can work with other treatment approaches. Contact us for more information, or visit our FAQ.
Supervising Doctor of This Article
Koichi Nagao, MD PhD
Professor, Department of Urology, Toho University Faculty of Medicine
Director of Urinary tract reconstruction center, Toho University Omori Medical Center
Director of Reproduction Center, Toho University Omori Medical Center
Professor Nagao specializes in plastic surgery in the field of reproductive medicine. He completed eight years of plastic surgery training at Showa University before majoring in urology at Toho University. With his meticulous surgical techniques and careful examinations that combines urology and plastic surgery, Professor Nagao became a Board Certified Specialist with multiple associations including the Japanese Urological Association, the Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the Japanese Society for Sexual Medicine.