Bladder Pain Location And Symptoms
Posted by Dr. Chris
The urinary bladder lies in the lesser pelvis in adults and the lower part of the abdomen in adolescents. When distended, the adult bladder rises into the greater pelvis and in some individuals, it can extend into the lower abdomen. Bladder pain may arise for a number of reasons including infectious and non-infectious inflammation , prolapse , bladder stones and tumors.
Bladder conditions may affect surrounding organs and structures or the pain may refer to these areas. In men, the bladder lies above the prostate gland, in front of the rectum and behind the pubic symphysis. In women, the bladder lies below the uterus and peritoneal cavity, in front of the vagina and behind the pubic symphysis. This is discussed further under bladder location.
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Besides being painful, what arekidney stones?
Theyre solid formations of minerals and salts that crystalize in urine in the kidneys when concentrations are high. They can be as tiny as a grain of sand to pebble-size and larger. And they can develop at any age, from infants to the elderly.
Although some stones remain in the kidneys, others travel through the ureter and into the bladder, explains Howard Abromowitz, MD.
How Is Dysuria Diagnosed
See your healthcare provider if you feel pain or burning when you pee. Dysuria can be a symptom of medical condition that may need to be treated. To diagnose your pain, first your healthcare provider will review your complete medical history, including asking you questions about your current and past medical conditions, such as diabetes mellitus or immunodeficiency disorders. He or she may also ask about your sexual history to determine if an STI could be the cause of the pain. Tests to screen for STIs may also be needed, especially if men have a discharge from their penis or women have discharge from their vagina. If you are a woman of childbearing age, a pregnancy test may be done.
Your provider will also ask about your current prescriptions and over-the-counter medication use and any tried home remedies to manage the dysuria.
Your healthcare provider will also ask you about your current symptoms and obtain a clean catch sample of your urine. Your urine sample will be analyzed for white blood cells, red blood cells or foreign chemicals. The presence of white blood cells tells your provider you have inflammation in your urinary tract. A urine culture reveals if you have a urinary tract infection and if so, the bacteria that are causing it. This information allows your provider to select the antibiotic that will work best in treating the bacteria.
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When To See A Doctor For A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections usually require a visit to the doctor to confirm diagnosis and receive treatment. If a UTI is suspected, a doctorÃ¢â¬â¢s appointment is always recommended for the following groups of people:
- Anyone who has not had a UTI before
- Anyone with blood in their urine
- Anyone with symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection
- Anyone whose symptoms have returned after treatment
Some people who experience UTIs on a frequent basis might be offered different management options by their doctor, such as long-term, low-dose antibiotics. In these special cases, the onset of UTI symptoms may be managed at home, and a visit to the doctor is not always necessary.
In very mild cases, a bladder infection/cystitis may clear on its own without the need for medical treatment. However, other conditions such as genital herpes or vaginal thrush can be mistaken for cystitis, so people who are unsure whether they have cystitis should still see a doctor.
Feeling unwell? People experiencing symptoms that may be linked to a urinary tract infection can carry out a symptom assessment using the free Ada app now.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
Dysuria is a symptom. It causes a burning sensation, pain and/or discomfort. You will likely choose to contact your healthcare provider because this symptom is uncomfortable. It’s important to see your provider to determine if your symptom is related to a urinary tract infection or another medical cause. In any case, the sooner you see your provider, the sooner a diagnosis can be made and treatment can be started.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/08/2020.
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Bladder Pain & Urinary Tract Infections
Affecting more than 50% of all women during their lifetime, another common cause of pelvic pain are UTIs. The pain typically experienced with a UTI occurs when passing urine a burning sensation and/or lower abdominal pain.
Although UTIs are common, if left untreated they can develop into more serious kidney infections. If your symptoms persist for more than 24 hours and include fever, chills, back pain, nausea or vomiting, you should see your doctor immediately.
The other common type of bladder pain is called interstitial cystitis . This type of pain is different from a UTI in that there is irritation, but no infection.
Painful bladder syndrome is common in women with endometriosis.
Dr Manwaring advises you to see your GP if you have troublesome bladder symptoms that are persistent or frequent, including:
- needing to empty your bladder more than 8-10 times during the day
- needing to empty your bladder more than once a night
- pain with full bladder, which improves with emptying
- pain with intercourse
Urinary Tract Infections : More Common In Women
Urinary tract infections, sometimes called bladder infections, strike women more often than men, and simple anatomy is the cause.
The female urethra is closer to areas that have natural bacteria, such as the anus and vagina. Its also shorter than a mans urethra, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .
Bladder pain from UTIs can happen at any age. In young women, it is a common symptom of urinary tract infections, along with frequent and painful urination. Symptoms in older women can vary but typically include muscle aches, abdominal pain, fatigue, and weakness.
And though the infection may go away without treatment, antibiotics can speed healing and quickly eliminate uncomfortable symptoms. Drinking extra fluids and urinating frequently will also help treat the infection and your discomfort.
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Changes In Bladder Habits Or Symptoms Of Irritation
Bladder cancer can sometimes cause changes in urination, such as:
- Having to urinate more often than usual
- Pain or burning during urination
- Feeling as if you need to go right away, even when your bladder isn’t full
- Having trouble urinating or having a weak urine stream
- Having to get up to urinate many times during the night
These symptoms are more likely to be caused by a urinary tract infection , bladder stones, an overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate . Still, its important to have them checked by a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
Location Of Bladder Pain
Pain arising from the bladder itself is often described as a deep pain below the umbilicus , just above or in line with the pubic patch and lying in the midline. Depending on the cause, bladder pain may radiate to the external genitalia, like the penis and vulva , to the sides of the abdomen and even extending to the back. The bladder lies in line with the lower sacral vertebrae and pain referred to this area may present as lower back pain, at times without pain present elsewhere in the pelvis/lower abdomen.
Picture from Wikimedia Commons
Bladder pain may be vary in character and intensity, from a dull nagging ache to sharp, piercing pain. The pain may exacerbate when :
- bending forward
- bladder is full
- during urination
Bladder pain that radiates towards the upper abdomen, sometimes even under the lower ribs, may be due to an infection that has progressed up the ureters to the kidneys. This requires immediate medical attention. Refer to kidney pain location for more information.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Dysuria
Symptoms of painful urination can vary between men and women, but both genders usually describe it as a burning, stinging or itching. Burning is the most commonly reported symptom.
Pain can occur at the start of urination or after urination. Pain at the start of your urination is often a symptom of a urinary tract infection. Pain after your urination can be a sign of a problem with the bladder or prostate. In men, pain can remain in your penis before and after urination too.
Symptoms in women can be internal or external. Pain outside your vaginal area may be caused by inflammation or irritation of this sensitive skin. Internal pain can be a symptom of a urinary tract infection.
Risk Factors In Women
Women are particularly susceptible to urinary tract infections because their urethra is shorter, meaning the infection can spread throughout the urinary tract more easily. Additionally, the anal and urinary openings of a woman are in closer proximity, increasing the risk of bacteria spreading between the two.
In addition to the above, women are also susceptible to the following risk factors for UTIs:
- Sexual intercourse can contribute to the spread of genital or anal bacteria, especially with a new sexual partner when the rate of sexual activity is typically higher. However, UTIs are not a sexually transmitted disease
- Spermicides and birth control methods which use spermicides can affect the natural balance of healthy bacteria within the vagina
- Antibiotics can also alter the natural bacterial balance within the vagina
- Diaphragms can place pressure on a womanÃ¢â¬â¢s urethra, resulting in the possibility of the bladder not emptying properly
- Pregnancy. As the uterus grows in pregnancy, it can put added weight on the bladder, leading to the possibility of the bladder not emptying properly
- Menopause can cause hormonal changes which affect the vaginaÃ¢â¬â¢s natural bacterial balance
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How Is Interstitial Cystitis Treated
Although IC/PBS cannot be cured, there are many ways to treat it. There is no way to predict who will respond best to certain treatments. Symptoms of IC/PBS may become more severe, or may disappear. Even if symptoms disappear, they may return after days, weeks, months or years.
Treatments for IC/PBS are aimed at relieving symptoms. Doctors will help decide the appropriate treatment for the patient. For some patients, treatments are combined.
Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder treatments can include:
- Diet: Some people with IC/PBS find that certain foods or drinks make their symptoms worse. You may find it helpful to keep a diary of what you eat and drink to see if any foods or drinks cause symptoms and/or flare-ups. For patients who have IC/PBS, acidic foods may irritate the bladder. If this is the case, your doctor may recommend taking an antacid with meals to reduce the amount of acid that gets into the urine. You may also want to remove certain foods from your diet, such as:
- Artificial sweeteners
Overactive Bladder Problems After Hysterectomy
Sometimes nerve damage or infections are the reason for an overactive bladder after surgery. This crazy, unstoppable feeling of having to go to the toilet, even if you have little or no urine in the bladder, is due to the bladders detrusor muscle malfunctioning. After a hysterectomy, overactive bladder problems include frequent visits to the bathroom, even during the night , and leaking urine.
What can you do about it?
Strengthen the pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises. Avoid substances that will irritate the bladder like coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and spicy meals. Get rid of the extra pounds, as your extra weight can have a notable impact on the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder. There are several medications that can help to relax the Detrusor muscle. Common side effects of these medications are dry mouth, constipation, and sometimes confusion.
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Home Remedies For Urinary Tract Infections
It is generally not recommended to treat urinary tract infections with home remedies alone, because antibiotic treatment is usually required to clear the infection. It is only in very mild cases of cystitis that the infection may clear without medical intervention. However, it is possible to use certain natural methods at home alongside antibiotic treatment to alleviate pain and help clear the infection quicker. Such remedies can include:
- Drinking plenty of water, ideally at least 1.5 liters a day, to help flush the bacteria out of the body
- Placing a hot water bottle or heating pad against the abdomen or lower back to ease pain in those areas make sure to wrap the heating device in a clean cloth or towel before application to avoid burns from direct contact with the skin
- Taking pain-relief medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
Drinking cranberry juice has been cited in the past as a successful treatment method for urinary tract infections. Although not harmful, recent studies indicate the benefit of cranberry juice for treating UTIs is limited.
Symptoms Of A Kidney Stone
Small stones move into the bladder and out of the body with minimal symptoms.
Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the ureter, block urine flow and cause sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, and blood in your urine. Symptoms may also include burning urination, nausea, and fever. Fever could indicate a serious infection, a reason to call to your doctor immediately.
The location of your pain signals the location of your kidney stone:
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What Are The Signs Of Kidney Stone In The Bladder
There are several signs that can indicate one has a kidney stone in the bladder, although in some cases there may be no symptoms at all. Patients may experience discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen. They may feel the need to urinate frequently, have difficulty urinating, or find it painful. Urine may come out darker colored than normal, or there may be blood in the urine. Sometimes the stone may lead to a urinary tract infection as well.
For some people, there is no sign that they have a kidney stone in the bladder. This is fairly common if the stone is very small, though it may even occur with larger stones. It may pass unnoticed from the kidney to the bladder and be passed from the body without the person ever knowing it was there.
A kidney stone in the bladder can cause pain, typically located in the lower part of the abdomen. This is different from the pain that occurs as the stone moves from the kidneys through the ureter to the bladder that pain, known as renal colic, is typically very sharp, comes in waves, and is felt in the area between the rib cage and the hip. In some cases, when the stone finally moves out of the ureter to the bladder, pain will actually decrease significantly or go away completely.
What Can I Do If I Have Bladder Pain From Foods
Living with bladder irritation can be uncomfortable. But you can take steps to remove irritants from your diet and reduce pain. Avoid foods that irritate your bladder, and remember that water is important. Drinking enough water helps you feel more comfortable after you eat foods that irritate your bladder.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Bladder discomfort can be frustrating and even embarrassing. Conditions like IC can make you feel like you need to pee even after youve already gone to the bathroom, and your bladder can hurt a lot. But you can get help to reduce irritation. Talk to your healthcare provider about your bladder irritation and possible food and drink causes.
Signs And Symptoms Associated With Bladder Pain
The most common cause of bladder pain is a urinary tract infection often involving the urethra as well since most infections are bacterial and ascending. Other signs and symptoms may include :
- Pain or burning sensation in the genitalia, especially when urinating, during intercourse and when ejaculating .
- Urethral discharge and/or vaginal discharge in women
- Cloudy urine that is strong smelling
- Blood in the urine that may make the urine appear dark yellow to brow, orange or even red.
- Frequent urination
- Urinary incontinence
- Suprapubic pain when defecating
Straining to urinate, hesitancy and post-micturition dribble may indicate the involvement of the prostate gland in men. Fever, chills, malaise and nausea are indicative of a severe infection. Unintentional weight loss associated with bladder pain may be due to bladder cancer.
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Treatments For Interstitial Cystitis
Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for interstitial cystitis and it can be difficult to treat, although a number of treatments can be tried.
But no single treatment works for everyone, and there’s disagreement about how effective some of them are.
You may need to try several treatments to find one that works for you.
Medicines and other therapies may be used if lifestyle changes not help, and surgery may be necessary as a last resort.
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