Bladder pain: what could be behind it?

Bladder pain can be downright distressing. Like all ‘’organ’’ pain, it is compounded by the anxiety associated with ‘’something being wrong’’ with an important body system.

There is a range of experience of bladder pain. Some aspects include:

-Pain when passing urine

-Pain that feels like it’s coming from your bladder, which increases as your bladder gets fills up

-An ongoing discomfort with urge; a feeling of constantly needing to go to the toilet, which doesn’t really ease when you go

So what are some of the possibilities when your bladder hurts?

Urinary tract infection causing bladder pain.

The good old UTI is probably the most common cause of pain in the bladder, and usually is accompanied by a ‘’triad’’ of symptoms: frequency (going to the toilet more often, often for only small amounts), urgency (a feeling that you can’t put off the urge and have to rush to the toilet) and dysuria (pain with passing urine, usually worse at the end of the stream). Sometimes the body can fight this off, especially if you alkalise the urine with Ural or bicarbonate of soda, but if symptoms persist, it’s important to get to a doctor who can do a dipstick to check for white blood cells and send it off for culture. You will most likely need antibiotics. It is critical that the infection does not reach the kidneys, as this can cause long-term damage. You should always act quickly, particularly if you have a fever.

Stones causing bladder pain.

Bladder stones are made up of minerals and proteins in the urine. Sometimes bladder stones can remain in the bladder with no symptoms. However, passing stones is normally (but not always) extraordinarily painful. A dipstick test with the doctor will show up blood in the urine (which may not be visible to the naked eye). An X-ray can show up some types of stones (calcium oxalate, but not uric acid stones), or a cystoscopy (camera in the bladder) may be necessary to diagnose them. They normally occur in older people or people who have become dehydrated.

Vaginal infection causing bladder pain.

Sometimes, an infection in the vagina (bacterial or yeast infection) can cause pain in what feels like the bladder; it is also possible to have pain when passing urine, as the urethra (bladder tube) can be inflamed (this is called urethritis). Especially if your symptoms are not the ‘’classic triad’’ and don’t show up as a urinary tract infection on a culture, it is important to have a vaginal swab to rule out vaginal infection. It is important to consider chlamydia, an extremely common sexually transmitted infection, which in some women causes no symptoms at first, but can cause pain with passing urine.

That’s just the beginning – watch this space in the next few days for some more causes of bladder pain and arm yourself with information!

Tell me more (part 2)

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