Updated: 2018, Mar 30

Bladder Problems: Know The Details About Common Bladder Problems!

By - Reviewed by CHD Team
Bladder Problem

Every human body, both male and female, possesses an organ that holds the body’s urine. This organ resembles a hollow bag and is called the bladder. The bladder can develop a number of medical problems over the course of a person’s life ranging from mild to extremely serious.

Bladder problems, such as incontinence, are often concealed by a majority of the populace, because of the social stigma that is usually associated with them. Experts believe that about 25 million American adults experience urinary incontinence and about three quarters of this number are women.

It is difficult to get an accurate number on the total number of people affected by these conditions because people are afraid to expose themselves. Experts constantly urge people affected by bladder problems to seek professional help, as hiding the problem won’t help the patient in any way; often, the cure is fairly simple and unobtrusive, and lifestyle changes can cure the issue.

Who Can Get Bladder Problems?

One in every eight US citizens who have experienced bladder problems has been formally diagnosed. Although bladder problems occur in both genders, estimates show that they occur more frequently in women than men. It is approximated that around half the total population of women develop some sort of bladder infection during the course of their lives. Moreover, a quarter of women over eighteen years of age experience a leaking bladder. The main reason behind this is that the urinary tract in women is shorter for women and is prone to infection from bacteria present in the skin, vagina or anus. Child birth is also a major factor behind women’s bladder problems.

When do People Get Bladder Problems?

Although bladder problem can occur at any point in a person’s life, they are more likely to occur after you cross the 30 year mark.

About one third of the population (both men and women), aged between 30 and 70 experience loss of bladder control. Sadly, only a third of this one third discusses their problem with their physician and receive treatment.

Moreover, men over the age of forty face problems with the prostate gland that lead to bladder issues. This problem becomes more and more exacerbated in men as they age; at least half of the population of men over 80 years of age has poor bladder control or nocturia.

What are The Common Bladder Problems?

  • Bladder Cancer: Bladder cancer is in fact a collective name given to several different varieties of cancer, all originating from the urothelium of the bladder. In layman terms, any type of cancer that causes cells to multiply abnormally in the bladder is classified as bladder cancer. The percentage of people who have been diagnosed and survived the condition for five years is about 77%. Bladder cancer is considered one of the most aggressive cancers in the world because patients present to the doctor in latter stages.
  • Bladder Infection: A bladder infection is an infection that occurs in the lower urinary tract. The main culprit behind this condition is Escherichia coli but other microbes, fungi and viruses have also been known to cause it. It is characterized by pain while urinating and a constant urge to urinate (may be false). This condition is more prevalent in women than men.
  • Overactive Bladder: An overactive bladder, more properly known as Overactive Bladder Syndrome. It is symptomized by an increase in the frequency of passing urine, waking up more than twice at night to urinate, involuntary (and sometimes unstoppable) urination.
  • Bladder Stones: Their most common cause is dehydration, which causes the urine present in the bladder to become concentrated enough for certain minerals to crystallize into stones. Bladder stones sometimes do not cause any symptoms, but when they do, they include a sharp pain in the abdomen and back, difficulty in urinating, nocturia, fever and bloody urine.
  • Bladder Spasms: A bladder spasm is the name given to the condition in which the bladder contracts involuntarily resulting in an urgent need to urinate. Severe pain may accompany this urge and the condition can lead to incontinence. The patient cannot control any urine that may leak during the spasm, as they do not have control over their bladder during the episode.
  • Bladder Prolapse: This condition is exclusive to women. It occurs when the front wall of the vagina is no longer able to support the bladder, due to age or childbirth related stresses. This causes the bladder to descend into the vagina leading to difficulty in urination, general discomfort and stress incontinence (incontinence caused by stresses such as coughing or sneezing). This condition varies from mild (only a small portion descends) to complete (the entire bladder protrudes from the vagina).
  • Enuresis: It is a condition characterized by lack of ability to exercise control over one’s urination, and is only used with regards to people who are old enough to normally maintain control. It is usually known as urinary incontinence.
  • Paruresis: This condition is more psychological than physical and those who suffer from it have an abnormal fear of urinating in public places which goes beyond the usual shyness of fear of exposure that everyone faces.

Causes of Bladder Problems

There are a number of causes for bladder problems. Some of them are:

  • Old Age: For both men and women, aging often leads to weakened control over the bladder. This causes bladder problems such as incontinence and nocturia.
  • Anatomy: In men, the problems of the prostate gland often lead to bladder conditions. For women, the shorter urinary tract makes infections easier. Menopause also leads to bladder problems among women.
  • Child Birth: Women who have been in labor more than three times may find themselves more prone to bladder some problems such as bladder prolapse.
  • Medical Conditions: Diabetics are more likely to experience nocturia.
  • Other Causes: Other causes include diuretic medication as well as lifestyle choices like alcoholism or over consumption of caffeine.

Treatments for Bladder Problems

Most bladder problems are related to lack of bladder control and frequent urination or urges to urinate. They are initially treated with lifestyle changes such as giving up on caffeine, alcohol and soda. If the problem does not go away, drugs containing anticholinergics or estrogen may be used. In addition to this, imipramine (an antidepressant) and desmopressin (for bed wetting children) can be prescribed. Remember not to take any medication without prior consultation with your physician. As for bladder cancer, it responds well to the usual cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

The most important factor is the treatment of bladder problems, however, is the patient coming forward and seeking help. Many simple problems affect the patient and his/her quality of life for years, when they could have been cured by simple lifestyle changes.

Can You Prevent Bladder Problems?

Most bladder problems can be prevented by some simple steps such as:

  • Staying well hydrated – A good supply of fluids (water or cranberry juice) to the urinary tract help to flush it and keep the bladder healthy.
  • Lowering the consumption of carbonated drinks, alcohol and caffeine that can cause bladder irritation.
  • Urinating whenever the urge is felt, i.e. never holding it in for longer periods of time can prevent bladder stones from forming.
  • Keeping genitals clean by rinsing them each day can prevent bladder infections.
  • Eating lots of fiber containing foods can alleviate the symptoms of bladder problems.

When Should You Visit Your healthcare Professional?

Typical signs that you are experiencing a bladder condition include:

  • Pain while urinating.
  • Feeling the frequent need to urinate.
  • False urges to urinate.
  • Passing blood when you urinate (can be a sign of a serious problem).
  • Pain in the abdomen and lower back.


A large majority of the US populace experiences bladder problems but chooses to hide them until the symptoms become too painful or apparent. What needs to be understood is that bladder problems do not imply a deficiency in the person but are due to specific medical reasons that require treatment just like any other condition.

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