What is Bladder Pain?
Bladder pain is discomfort that originates in the urinary bladder and manifests as pain in the middle part of the lower abdomen, lower back, or groin. The bladder is a hollow, elastic, and muscular organ that expands and contracts while collecting and storing urine from the kidneys before disposal through urination.
Causes of Bladder Pain
Bladder pain may be caused due to numerous factors, which include:
- Urinary tract infection: This condition is mainly caused due to the presence of bacteria in any area of the urinary tract. It most commonly affects women, and when left untreated can cause serious complications.
- Interstitial cystitis: Also known as painful bladder syndrome, it is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the urinary bladder.
- Bladder cancer: This is the abnormal growth of cells in the muscles, the lining of the bladder, or the innermost layer of the bladder tissue.
- Changes in the reproductive system: This may be due to menopause and includes changes such as thinning of the vaginal skin.
- Cystinuria: This condition is caused by a high concentration of amino acid cystine in the urine resulting in cystine stones that can get stuck in the bladder or urinary tract and cause pain.
- Prostatitis: This is the enlargement of the prostate gland pressing against the urethra and causing pain and urinary problems.
- Bladder stones: In this condition, the excess minerals in the body concentrate and crystallize to form stones in the urine.
- Urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra)
- Injury or trauma
- Benign or malignant tumors
- Endometriosis (abnormal growth of tissue on the uterus)
- Congenital defects
- Bowel disorders
Symptoms related to Bladder Pain
Some of the common symptoms related to bladder pain include:
- Pain or burning sensation while urination
- Urgency to urinate
- Blood in urine
- Pain during intercourse
- Night sweats
- Frequent urination
Diagnosis of Bladder Pain
Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and based on this a physical examination will be performed. Your doctor may also recommend the following diagnostic tests:
- Urine analysis: Urine samples will be collected and examined for the presence of RBCs, infection, or any other abnormalities.
- Cystoscopy: A long, thin instrument with an eyepiece on one end and a tiny lens with a light on the other end will be inserted into the urethra and bladder for examination.
- Ultrasound: This study uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the bladder tissues.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan: This study uses radio waves and a large magnetic field to produce images of the soft tissues and ligaments.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: This scan uses multiple x-rays to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the bladder.
- Biopsy: This is an image-guided procedure in which a small sample of bladder tissue is taken and observed under the microscope for detecting any abnormal growth.
- Intravenous urogram: This is an x-ray test that produces images of the bladder, ureters, and kidney using a contrast dye.
- Retrograde urethrography: This A diagnostic procedure that is performed usually in men. It uses an x-ray dye to look for stricture or trauma to the urethra.
Treatment for Bladder Pain
Treatment measures for bladder pain may vary based on the root cause, this includes:
- Medications: Your doctor may prescribe a combination of antibiotics like nitrofurantoin, amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin which will be provided orally or intravenously to help treat the bacterial infection and relieve bladder pain.
- Nerve stimulation: This method uses electrical impulses that are passed through the bladder to reduce urinary frequency and relieve pelvic pain.
- Radiation therapy: Powerful X-rays and other high-energy rays will be introduced into the body to kill cancer cells that might be causing bladder pain.
- Urethral dilation: A catheter with an inflated balloon at the end of the tube can be inserted into the urethra to help widen the stricture to increase the flow of urine.
- Bladder instillation: Also known as a bladder wash, this is a technique in which a solution will be injected into the bladder and retained for a short period. The solution will be drained using a catheter from the bladder. This helps to remove the accumulated sediments in the urine.
- Chemotherapy: This is a medication that will be given orally or intravenously to destroy painful tumors.
- Lifestyle modifications
- Drink plenty of water
- Reduce intake of soft drinks
- Give up smoking
- Gentle stretching exercises
- Avoid acidic foods
- Avoid perfumed soaps and deodorants
If conservative methods fail to improve the symptoms, surgery will be recommended. The various surgical options include:
- Bladder Augmentation: Also known as cystoplasty, it is a technique performed to increase the size of the bladder when it is small or stiff as it cannot expand completely to hold the normal amount of urine produced by the kidneys.
- Cystectomy: This process involves the removal of the bladder along with the lymph nodes for the treatment of bladder cancer that has spread to nearby tissue.
- Fulguration: This is a minimally invasive method that involves the insertion of instruments through the urethra to burn abnormal growths.