Bladder Breakdown

Organization: Author:
Judy Choi, M.D., urologist, Long Beach Memorial
girl with legs crossed

Do you find that you can’t often hold your urine when you need to go to the restroom? The constant urge to go may feel normal, but do you know what is happening in your bladder?

The bladder is a muscular sac in the pelvis. When it is empty, it is approximately the size of a pear. Urine is made in the kidneys and goes down the ureters to the bladder, where it is stored. The bladder is lined by muscular tissues that expand to hold more urine. During urination, the muscles contract and two valves open. Urine exits through the urethra.

There are several different conditions that can affect the bladder:

  • Cystitis – inflammation/infection of the bladder
    • This infection causes pain/discomfort and frequent or hesitant urination.
  • Stones – formed in the kidney and travel to the bladder
    • The stones can block urine flow to/from bladder and can often be extremely painful.
  • Cancer – tumor in the bladder
    • Bladder cancer is often found after blood is present in the urine.
  • Incontinence – loss of bladder control
    • Urinary incontinence can be stress, urge, overflow or functional related.
  • Overactive – involuntary contractions
    • When the bladder contracts involuntarily, it can cause leakage.
  • Retention – issues with urine exiting the bladder
    • A bladder may not function properly if there is an obstruction or suppressed activity.
  • Cystocele – weakened pelvic muscles
    • The pelvic muscles are typically weakened during childbirth and can cause problems with urination. You may notice a bulge from the vagina, especially with straining.
  • Dysuria – pain/discomfort during urination
    • Pain during urinations may come from infection, irritation, or inflammation.

Bladder issues can be caused by everyday habits, medical conditions or physical problems, such as pregnancy, childbirth, aging, weight gain, menopause, or chronic constipation.

While it may be embarrassing, bladder health symptoms are an important topic to discuss with your physician because many conditions are treatable.

When you see your doctor, come prepared with information about your past medical and surgical history and information about your symptoms, including how often you urinate during the day and night and a list of medications.

The Center for Women’s Pelvic Health at Long Beach Memorial offers patients a comprehensive blend of community and hospital-based programs to bring relief for these conditions. Treatment can improve your quality of life and get you back to the things you love again without worrying about changing your lifestyle.

To learn more about the Center for Women’s Pelvic Health, please call 800-MEMORIAL.

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