What Else Could Be Behind Your Bladder Pain?

This is Part Two – so make sure read part 1 of Bladder Pain to get the full story on possible causes of bladder pain!

Cancer causing bladder pain.

Let’s get this one out of the way! While bladder cancer or a bladder tumour, is an uncommon cause of bladder pain, especially in younger people, it is important to be ruled out. It is always important to identify the cause of blood in the urine, either macroscopic (meaning visible to the naked eye) or microscopic (meaning it shows up on a dipstick test).

Obstruction causing bladder pain.

If the urethra (bladder tube) gets blocked, the bladder can overfill and become distended like a balloon, and cause bladder pain. Obstruction may occur for many reasons, including prostate enlargement in men, bladder stones, tumours, scar tissue, or bladder prolapse in women. It is uncommon in women, and would occur with the symptom of difficulty emptying the bladder or a change to the urine stream.

Incomplete bladder emptying.

If the bladder does not empty completely it is possible for the bladder to overfill and cause pain, as in obstruction. This could occur with damage to sensory nerves of the bladder, such as with gynaecological surgery or a traumatic childbirth. There is also a rare condition in young women known as Fowler’s Syndrome, where the urethra (bladder tube) does not relax properly when trying to pass urine, leading to urinary retention.

Interstitial cystitis or bladder pain syndrome.

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is also known as painful bladder syndrome (PBS) or bladder pain syndrome (BPS). It is a condition causing pain (or pressure or discomfort) associated with the bladder, usually worse as the bladder is filling, and relieved to some degree with passing urine. It is a chronic condition (present for at least 6 weeks) where a urinary tract infection has been clearly ruled out. A dipstick test may show blood in the urine. A cystoscopy will normally show bleeding wounds in the wall of the bladder called ‘’glomerulations’’ or petechial haemorrhages. However, it is possible to have PBS without this classic sign of IC. Antibiotics will not change the symptoms.

Endometriosis causing bladder pain.

Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium, or uterine lining, grows abnormally in places that it shouldn’t, such as the bowel, the bladder and the pelvic cavity. Endometriosis often causes pelvic pain, usually exacerbated during menstruation. Sometimes the pain can feel specific to the bladder. With bladder endometriosis, a dipstick test may show pyuria (pus or white blood cells) in the urine, but a culture for a urinary tract infection will be negative. Antibiotics will not change the symptoms.

A Final Message About Bladder Pain

Bladder can be acute and self-limiting (meaning that it is related to clear cause and resolves predictably) or it can be chronic, where the cause is more difficult to find. When it persists for a period of weeks or months, it takes on the characteristics common to chronic pain, such as neurogenic inflammation and central sensitisation. Recurrent urinary tract infections are another issue that need expert help to resolve. Here at Equilibria, we have the expertise to help you solve these problems once and for all.



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