Understanding Urinary Bladder

The urinary bladder is a hollow, spherical organ responsible for storing urine. In general, it has a capacity to hold approximately 500-700 mL, which is equivalent to about two cups of urine. When the urge to urinate arises, the muscles in the bladder contract, while the sphincter muscles in the urethra relax. This coordinated action allows the urine to flow out of the body.

The bladder is a crucial component of the urinary system.

What Are the Basic Functions of Urinary Bladder?

The bladder holds urine, while the kidneys filter blood, removing substances like salt, water, toxins, and waste products, which are then expelled as urine. As the bladder fills, it expands like a balloon. Around 200-350 mL of urine prompts bladder nerves to signal the brain about the need to use the toilet. Emptying the bladder causes it to contract back to its normal size. On average, individuals release about 950-1,900 mL (approximately two quarts) of urine daily.

These bodily functions are integral components of the urinary system.

Conditions and Disorders

Common conditions that affect the bladder include:

Bladder Cancer/tumor

Bladder Cancer/tumor

Bladder cancer is a frequently encountered type of cancer that originates in the cells of the bladder, a hollow muscular organ located in the lower abdomen responsible for storing urine.

The majority of bladder cancers start in the urothelial cells lining the interior of the bladder. These cells are also present in the kidneys and the tubes (ureters) linking the kidneys to the bladder. Although urothelial cancer can occur in the kidneys and ureters, it is notably more common in the bladder.

Most instances of bladder cancer are detected in their early stages, making them highly treatable. However, even after successful treatment, early-stage bladder cancers may reoccur. Consequently, individuals with bladder cancer typically undergo follow-up tests for several years post-treatment to monitor for any signs of recurrent bladder cancer.

These procedures are crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of individuals with a history of bladder cancer.

What are Urinary Bladder Stones?

What are Urinary Bladder Stones?

Urinary bladder stones, also known as vesical calculi, are solid formations that develop within the urinary bladder. These stones can vary in size and composition, often containing minerals and salts. Common types include calcium oxalate stones, uric acid stones, and struvite stones. These stones form when there is an imbalance in the substances that make up urine, leading to the crystallization of minerals and salts within the bladder.

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Urinary Bladder Stone Symptoms and Signs:

Symptoms and signs of urinary bladder stones may include:

  • Pelvic Pain: Discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen, often concentrated in the pelvic region.
  • Hematuria (Blood in Urine): Presence of blood in the urine, giving it a pink, red, or brown color.
  • Difficulty and Painful Urination: Struggling or experiencing pain during urination.
  • Frequent Urination: Increased urgency to urinate, even with small amounts of urine.
  • Cloudy or Foul-Smelling Urine: Changes in the appearance and odor of urine.
  • Incomplete Emptying of the Bladder: Feeling as though the bladder is not completely emptied after urination.
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Procedures to Treat Urinary Bladder Stones:

Treatment for urinary bladder stones may involve:

  • Cystolitholapaxy: This procedure involves breaking down and removing bladder stones using a laser or ultrasound.
  • Transurethral Cystoscopy: A thin tube with a camera is inserted through the urethra to visualize and remove the stones.
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Causes of Urinary Bladder Stones:

Several factors contribute to the development of urinary bladder stones:

  • Dehydration
  • Bladder dysfunction or urinary retention
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bladder outlet obstruction
  • Foreign bodies in the bladder
  • Bladder diverticula
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Urinary Bladder Stones Test & Diagnosis

Urinary Bladder Stones Test & Diagnosis:

Medical History and Physical Examination:

  • Assessment of medical history, symptoms, and physical examination.

Imaging Studies:

  • CT Scan (Computed Tomography)
  • Ultrasound
  • X-rays

Laboratory Tests:

  • Urinalysis
  • Urine Culture
  • Blood Tests

Cystoscopy:

  • Direct visualization of the bladder using a thin tube with a camera.

Stone Analysis:

  • If a bladder stone is removed, its composition can be analyzed for treatment guidance.
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When Should You See the Doctor?

If you suspect urinary bladder stones or experience symptoms like pelvic pain, blood in urine, or difficulty urinating, it is important to seek prompt medical attention. Complications such as urinary tract infections or complete obstruction may occur. Regular check-ups are recommended for those with a history of bladder stones or predisposing factors to monitor bladder health.

Early diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial for effectively treating urinary bladder stones and preventing their recurrence.

Bladder Cystitis

Bladder Cystitis

Cystitis, medically termed as inflammation of the bladder, involves swelling, heat, and potential pain in this part of the body. Typically, cystitis results from a bacterial infection known as a urinary tract infection (UTI), which, besides being painful and bothersome, can pose a serious health risk if it extends to the kidneys.

Additionally, cystitis can arise as a response to certain medications, radiation therapy, or irritation from factors like hygiene products, spermicide jelly, or prolonged catheter use. It may also be a complication of other illnesses.

For bacterial-induced cystitis, the standard treatment involves the use of antibiotics. However, treatment for other forms depends on the underlying cause. Recognizable signs and symptoms of cystitis include a persistent urge to urinate, pain or a burning sensation during urination, frequent small urination episodes, blood in the urine (hematuria), cloudy or strong-smelling urine, pelvic discomfort, a sense of pressure below the belly button, and occasionally, a low-grade fever.

In young children, recurrent daytime wetting incidents may indicate a UTI. It’s important to note that nighttime bed-wetting is generally not linked to a UTI. Seeking prompt medical attention for these symptoms is crucial for effective management and prevention of complications associated with cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis (IC)

Interstitial cystitis (IC)

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic condition falling under the category of painful bladder syndrome, causing bladder pressure and pain, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. This long-lasting condition primarily affects women, impacting their quality of life. While there’s no cure, various medications and therapies can provide relief.

In IC, the signals related to bladder fullness and the urge to urinate become mixed up, leading to more frequent urges with smaller urine volumes than usual. The walls of the bladder become irritated and inflamed, distinguishing it from a normal bladder.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis include

Pelvic pain, persistent urgent need to urinate, frequent urination (up to 60 times a day), and discomfort during bladder filling with relief after urination. Pain during sex and chronic pelvic pain are also common. The severity of symptoms varies, and individuals may experience periods without symptoms. Triggers, such as stress, menstruation, prolonged sitting, exercise, and sexual activity, can cause symptom flares.

It’s important to note that while symptoms may resemble those of a chronic urinary tract infection, there’s typically no infection involved. However, symptoms may worsen if a urinary tract infection occurs in conjunction with interstitial cystitis. Seeking medical guidance for proper management is essential.

Bladder Neck Obstruction (BNO)

Bladder Neck Obstruction (BNO), also known as high bladder neck, is a condition where the passage between the bladder and urethra narrows or becomes blocked, hindering the normal flow of urine. This obstruction often leads to various urinary symptoms and can significantly affect an individual’s daily life.

In BNO, the bladder neck fails to open properly during urination, causing urine retention and incomplete emptying of the bladder. This can result in symptoms such as a weak urinary stream, difficulty initiating urination, dribbling after urination, and a sensation of incomplete bladder emptying.

Men are more commonly affected by bladder neck obstruction, often due to conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), where the prostate gland enlarges and compresses the urethra. However, women can also experience BNO due to factors such as pelvic organ prolapse or prior pelvic surgery.

Symptoms of bladder neck obstruction can vary in severity, ranging from mild inconvenience to significant urinary retention requiring medical intervention. Some individuals may experience recurrent urinary tract infections or bladder stones due to stagnant urine in the bladder.

Certain triggers, such as consuming alcohol or caffeine, taking decongestants or antihistamines, or being in a seated position for extended periods, can exacerbate symptoms of bladder neck obstruction.

It’s crucial for individuals experiencing symptoms suggestive of bladder neck obstruction to seek medical evaluation promptly. Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, urine flow tests, and imaging studies such as ultrasound or cystoscopy to assess the bladder and urinary tract. Treatment options may include medications to relax the bladder neck muscles, minimally invasive procedures to widen the bladder neck, or surgery to remove obstructions.

Managing bladder neck obstruction requires a comprehensive approach tailored to the individual’s specific needs and medical history. Regular follow-up with healthcare providers is essential to monitor symptoms, adjust treatment as necessary, and ensure optimal urinary function and quality of life.

Urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence Is the loss of bladder control, is a common issue ranging from occasional leaks during activities like coughing to a sudden, strong urge to urinate without reaching a toilet in time. While more prevalent with age, it’s not an inevitable consequence of aging. If it affects daily life, consulting a doctor is crucial.

Various types of urinary incontinence include:

  • Stress incontinence: Leaking urine during activities that apply pressure to the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, or exercising.
  • Urge incontinence: Sudden, intense urges to urinate, often followed by involuntary urine loss. Causes range from minor issues like infections to more serious conditions like neurological disorders or diabetes.
  • Overflow incontinence: Frequent dribbling due to an incompletely emptied bladder.
  • Functional incontinence: Physical or mental impairments hindering timely toilet access, like severe arthritis affecting quick clothing adjustments.
  • Mixed incontinence: Experiencing a combination of stress and urge incontinence

For many, lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, or medical care effectively manage urinary incontinence. Seeking timely medical advice ensures appropriate treatment and improved quality of life.

Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF)

Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF)

A fistula is an unintended connection between two body parts, often caused by infections, injuries, or inflammation and can occur in various areas of the body.

One specific type is a vesicovaginal fistula, where an opening forms between the bladder and the vaginal wall. This results in the leakage of urine through the vagina, ranging from occasional to continuous, depending on the size of the fistula. Beyond being a significant medical concern, it can be emotionally distressing due to embarrassment and odor issues.

Vesicovaginal fistulas commonly arise as complications after bladder or vaginal surgery. They can also be associated with gynecological cancer, either as a direct effect of the disease or due to radiation therapy or cancer-related surgery. In some cases, severe or recurring urinary tract infections may contribute to the development of fistulas, although this is rare. Seeking prompt medical attention is crucial for appropriate diagnosis and management of vesicovaginal fistulas.

If you are experiencing symptoms or have concerns related to urological conditions, it is crucial to seek timely medical attention. Dr. Ashish Saini, a specialist in urology, can provide expert guidance and tailored solutions. Don’t let urological issues impact your well-being—schedule a consultation with Dr. Saini to discuss your concerns and explore the appropriate course of action for effective diagnosis and management. Your health is our priority.

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