Bladder Facts

Bladder - a spherical, muscular organ that stretches as it collects and retains urine from the kidneys. The ureter deposits urine into the bladder, and the urethra expels the urine. In women, the bladder is positioned near the uterus. And, in men, the bladder sits between the pubic area and the rectum.

Feeling the Need to Urinate

When the bladder reaches near half capacity, nerves send signals to the brain that are then interpreted as a slight need to urinate.

Overactive Bladder

Nearly 20 million people suffer from overactive bladder problems. The symptoms include:

Causes vary from too much caffeine or alcohol, prostate blockages, nerve damage, stones or tumors within the bladder, or inflammation near the urinary tract.

Stress Incontinence

The most common type of bladder problem typically occurs to women during pregnancy or after childbirth and in women experiencing menopause. The cause is weakened pelvic floor muscles. During or after pregnancy the muscles stretch, causing poor control leading to incontinence. During menopause, the muscles shrink due to lack of female hormones.

Bladder Stones

If urine becomes concentrated in the bladder, mineral deposits can form into bladder stones, causing bleeding and pain, but they can also be asymptomatic. Smaller stones may pass unaided, but larger ones may need to be removed with the aid of a physician. Left untreated, they can cause infection and further complications.

Bladder Infection

Up to 30 percent of women will experience cystitis bladder infection. Causes can be related to bacteria entering the urethra during normal activities, intercourse, bladder stones, genetics and estrogen levels during menopause. Drinking plenty of water, urinating frequently, washing the anus and pelvic areas regularly and avoiding perfumed sprays or deodorants in the pelvic area can aid prevention.

Bladder Cancer

Cancer of the bladder typically begins in the inner cells of the bladder. Symptoms include:

Even after the cancer is cured or removed, bladder cancer return rates are high and individuals return for frequent cancer screenings for years afterward to monitor for any returning cancer cells.

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