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Bladder Problems: Signs, Symptoms and Solutions

Christiana Lilly
September 13, 2020

Bladder issues — they’re cumbersome and interfere with your everyday life. Whether out shopping for groceries or socializing with friends, people with urinary problems find themselves searching for the bathroom or preparing themselves with pads and adult briefs.

But the reality is bladder problems are an issue for countless people. In fact, more than 25 million people have issues with their bladder! So while it might seem like an embarrassing malady you’re facing alone, don’t let it stop you from seeking medical advice. No matter the type of bladder issue that you are dealing with, there are countless treatments and remedies to improve your lifestyle.

Even something as simple as laughing or sneezing can cause people with urinary incontinence to unintentionally urinate

Types of Bladder Diseases and Symptoms

There are many diseases and symptoms that can impact the bladder, causing a variation of issues and problems for people.


A general term for inflammation of the bladder. In infectious cystitis, the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection, most commonly a urinary tract infection (UTIs). Although annoying and painful, UTIs are easy to treat and don’t cause long-term issues when treated early with antibiotics. Signs of an inflamed bladder include a strong urge to urinate, burning when urinating, only being able to pass small amounts of urine, cloudy or blood in the urine, and a low-grade fever.

In noninfectious cystitis, inflammation can be caused by certain medications, radiation, long-term use of catheters, or a reaction to chemicals like soaps. In Interstitial Cystitis (IC), the cause is not clear and mainly impacts women. The drug Elmiron has long been prescribed for people dealing with IC, but recently, concerns have been raised about a link between the drug and vision loss.

If you took Elmiron it would be good to get your eyes checked by a doctor. In addition if you learn you have been harmed by the drug you may be entitled to compensation.

Urinary Incontinence

Loss of bladder control, particularly when the muscle walls are not strong enough for someone to “hold it in” when they need to urinate. Even something as simple as laughing or sneezing can cause people with urinary incontinence to unintentionally urinate. Twice as many women than men will experience urinary incontinence, and women who have given birth will find that their pelvic walls are not as strong as they used to be. Solutions include pelvic floor exercises, medications, and even surgery in severe cases. People can wear absorbent pads in case of accidents.

Overactive bladder

An umbrella term for when the bladder releases urine unintentionally. People with an overactive bladder may also feel a strong urge to urinate when there is very little urine in the bladder. Again, this tends to impact women more than men. Causes of an overactive bladder include age, diabetes, and in the case of men, an enlarged prostate. Like urinary incontinence, solutions include pelvic floor exercises and medications, including over-the-counter remedies.

Bladder cancer

The most severe of the diseases and symptoms, bladder cancer is considered to be a fairly common cancer that is often caught early, making it extremely treatable. Treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and therapy drugs. Unfortunately, bladder cancer does have a high recurrence rate, so it’s important to keep track of how you’re feeling and communicating with your doctor. An early symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, but this can also be a symptom for a number of other issues, including a urinary tract infection. Always talk to your doctor about your concerns or if you find your body doing something new that it shouldn’t.

Bladder Problems

Bladder Problems

Tips for Controlling Your Bladder

For more minor bladder control problems, or to supplement with any medications or treatments recommended by your doctor, there are natural remedies as well as things to stay away from to ease your bladder.


Avoid or be mindful of your intake of alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, citrus and cranberry juices and products, sodas, and spicy foods.

Drink water

When you drink water, it helps move things along in your urinary tract. Concentrated urine, the result of drinking too little water, will irritate your bladder.

Pelvic floor exercises

To strengthen your muscles to help hold in urine, tighten then release your pelvic floor muscles. These are also called kegel contractions. You can do these anywhere without anyone knowing!

Stop smoking

Not only is smoking not good for your lungs, it has a negative impact on your bladder, too. That includes the coughing that sometimes sets off a leaky bladder in some people.

Natural remedies

Having higher levels of Vitamin D has been linked to less pelvic floor disorders. There are also herbal remedies, but check with your doctor before starting any.

What About Catheters?

You’ve probably heard of catheters — a tube inserted into the urethra to help with urination — especially when someone has undergone surgery or is being hospitalized. However, some conditions require people to use catheters in their everyday life. This includes people with a spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and stroke. That’s because some symptoms of these diseases are issues with the bladder.

Based on each person’s needs and situation, there are different catheters that are used. The three main catheters are:

  • Intermittent catheter: This thin catheter is inserted into the urethra whenever the person needs to urinate, then removed. It does not need the supervision of a medical professional, and when done properly, it is easy and painless.
  • Indwelling catheter: These are for long-term use and stay in the body. It is inserted by a healthcare professional through the stomach and into the bladder. When the person urinates, it empties into a collection bag. These catheters are typically switched out every few months.
  • External catheter: Nicknamed the “condom catheter,” this is specifically for people with a penis. The device is placed over the head of the penis and when the person urinates, it is caught by the catheter and then diverted to a collection bag. The catheter is changed out every day. This is helpful for people who may have no problem urinating, but have mental issues that make it difficult for them to make it to the bathroom.

Whether the best route for your bladder is a catheter, medication, or a simple over-the-counter remedy, there is an answer to your issues. Always seek help from a medical professional as you work to regain control of your life.


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