Bladder Issues

Bladder problems are sure to be distressing and often embarrassing for the adult man and woman. An infection of the bladder and urinary tract often leads to discomfort and the need for frequent, painful urination. In men, enlargement of the prostate can also cause frequent urination, with difficulty in starting, and leakage. In women, escape of urine (incontinence) is a common urinary problem, which possesses a variety of causes.

Frequent symptoms of a urinary problem include:

  • Burning with urination: The most common symptom of a urinary tract infection
  • Frequent urge to urinate without the ability to pass a desired amount of urine (frequency)
  • Urgent need to urinate (urgency)
  • Feeling of incompletely emptying of your bladder
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria): Your urine may look red, brown, or pink. Blood in the urine may occur after exercise, such as running or bicycling.
  • Leaking urine (incontinence)

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections usually occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder. Infection-fighting assets are found in the urinary system and help inhibit the growth of bacteria. Unfortunately, certain factors boost the chances that bacteria will enter the urinary tract and develop into an infection.
Sexual intercourse may lead to UTI’s in women. And due to the fact that the anus is so close to the female urethra, even women who aren’t sexually active may contract lower urinary tract infections. Most cases of cystitis are caused by E. coli, a type of bacteria usually found in the gastrointestinal tract. When men suffer from a UTI it is typically acquired from sexual contact. Some sexually transmitted diseases, like herpes or chlamydia, also are possible causes.


This urinary problem can be a characteristic sign of a urinary tract infection. Because irritation and swelling reduces the bladder’s ability to hold urine, even small amounts of urine cause discomfort. Pregnancy, diabetes and prostate problems are other common causes of frequency.
Other possible causes include:

  • Interstitial cystitis, described as a constant irritation of the bladder that is more common in women than men and typically hard to diagnose and treat.
  • Diuretics and many other medications
  • Radiation therapy
  • Dysfunction of the bladder
  • Bladder cancer


This condition can occur due to a variety of different causes. There are certain to be other possible sources of urinary urgency, so talk with your doctor about symptoms you experience.
Possible causes of urgency include:

  • Alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners
  • Bladder conditions and stones
  • Bladder irritation
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Urge incontinence
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Blocked urine flow
  • Urinary Retention
  • Hematuria
  • Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Retention

This problem may happen unexpectedly (acute), causing discomfort or pain, or may take place long term (chronic). As with most urinary problems there are many possible causes, including:

  • Blockages in the urinary system due to urinary tract stones or birth defects
  • Narrowing of the urethra due to scarring from injury or infection
  • Benign enlargement of the prostate gland
  • Nerve or bladder muscle problems
  • Prostate cancer or kidney stones
  • Side effects from some medications, such as antihistamines


Hematuria simply means blood in the urine. Microscopic hematuria means that the blood is only seen when the urine is examined under a microscope. Gross hematuria, on the other hand, means that there is enough blood in the urine so that the change can be appreciated with the naked eye. Obviously, gross hematuria has more blood in the urine than microscopic hematuria, but the types of diagnoses that can cause the problem are the same and the work-up or evaluation that is needed is identical.

To understand the needed evaluation for hematuria, one must know the anatomy of the urinary tract in the female. A diagram of the urinary tract may be provided so that the explanation makes better sense. The kidneys function to make urine by filtering blood and then discarding into the urine the waste products that are no longer needed. Water and salts accompany these waste products by necessity. The urine is then transported through two narrow tubes, called ureters, to the bladder, which is the reservoir for urine in between each void. The urine exits the bladder through a channel called the urethra that exits the body near the front of the vagina.
The blood in the urine must come from one of the above places: kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. The evaluation requires that we look at the ENTIRE urinary tract in patients with hematuria.

The number of causes of hematuria is great — perhaps 20 or 25 different groups of causes. Some are much more serious than others and require diagnosis sooner that later. These groups include cancers or malignancies, stones, infections, and blockages or obstructions to flow.
In the case of cancers, one must be concerned with every organ in the urinary tract, thus the reason to look at the entire urinary tract. Of the other groups, many are less important and most require no treatment. These may include viral infections, non-specific inflammations of the kidney such as dm~ reactions (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen can cause non-specific inflammation, usually without harm). Many medications can cause blood in the urine, particularly medications which thin the blood’s clotting ability, like coumadin or aspirin.

Urinary Incontinence

This condition may occur due to a variety of different reasons, to include weak pelvic muscles or diabetes. Common causes include:

  • Diminished skin thickness or drying in the vagina or urethra, particularly after menopause in women
    Inflamed prostate gland or prostate surgery in men
  • Some medications
  • Stool build-up of in the bowels
  • Immobility
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Elevated calcium levels

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