Your Diagnosis .info: Disorders of the Urinary Bladder

Disorders of the Urinary Bladder

Urinary Bladder Anatomy

The urinary bladder is a hollow, muscular, balloon shaped sack in the pelvis, just above and behind the pubic bone. When empty, the bladder is about the size and shape of a pear.

The bladder swells into a round shape when it is full and gets smaller when empty. If the urinary system is healthy, the average adult bladder holds about 2 cups of urine for 2 to 5 hours.

Bladder Conditions


Cystitis is inflammation or infection of the bladder causing chronic pain or discomfort.

Urinary stones

Stones (calculi) may form in the kidney and travel down to the bladder. If calculi block urine flow through the bladder, they can cause severe pain.

Bladder cancer

A tumor in the bladder is usually discovered after blood is noticed in the urine. Cigarette smoking and workplace chemical exposures cause most cases of bladder cancer.

Urinary incontenence

Urinary incontenence is involuntary urination, which may be chronic. Urinary incontinence can result from a variety of causes.

 Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence occurs when your pelvic muscles aren’t strong enough. They cannot withstand a “stress” or pressure pushing on the bladder. When your pelvic muscles give way, they release their squeeze around the bottom of your bladder. As a result, urine can drain out. If urine leaks out when you jump, cough, or laugh, you may have stress incontinence. Any physical exertion that increases abdominal pressure also puts pressure on the bladder. The word “stress” actually refers to the physical strain associated with leakage.

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder, is a condition where the bladder is overly sensitive to stretching and nerve signals. People with urge incontinence may feel the urge to urinate when their bladder is only partly filled. Also, the bladder can squeeze after only a minimal trigger.

Overflow incontinence

People with overflow incontinence cannot completely empty their bladders, and their bladders are constantly full triggering frequent urination or a constant dribbling of urine, or both. Overflow incontinence is often caused by bladder muscles weakened as a result of nerve damage by diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury can cause incontinence by causing the bladder to overfill and overflow. Overflow incontinence can also occur when the outlet for the bladder, the urethra, is blocked due to kidney or urinary stones, tumors, an enlarged prostate in men, female bladder surgery that is too tight, or a birth defect.


Hematuria is blood in the urine. Hematuria may be benign, or may be caused by a serious condition like bladder cancer.

 Urinary retention

Urine does not exit the bladder normally due to obstruction or suppressed bladder muscle activity causing the bladder to swell and hold more than a quart of urine.


Weakened pelvic muscles (often from childbirth) allow the bladder to press on the vagina. Problems with urination can result.

 Bed-wetting (nocturnal enuresis)

Bed-wetting is defined as a child age 5 or older who wets the bed at least one or two times a week over at least three months.

 Dysuria (painful urination)

Dysuria is pain or discomfort during urination due to infection of inflammation of the bladder or external genitals.