Bladder

The bladder is a hollow organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Many conditions can affect the bladder. Some common ones are:

  • Infection – a urinary tract infection in the bladder is also known as cystitis
  • Interstitial cystitis – a chronic problem in which the bladder wall can become inflamed and irritated, leading to frequent, painful urination
  • Urinary incontinence – loss of bladder control
  • Bladder cancer – of every 10,000 people, about 2 to 3 people will develop bladder cancer

Doctors diagnose bladder diseases using different tests. These include urine tests, x-rays and other radiological scans, and examination of the bladder with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the problem. It may include medicines and, in severe cases, surgery.
Overactive bladder is a condition in which the bladder squeezes urine out at the wrong time. You may have overactive bladder if you have two or more of these symptoms:

  • You urinate eight or more times a day or two or more times at night.
  • You have the sudden, strong need to urinate immediately.
  • You leak urine after a sudden, strong urge to urinate.

You also may have incontinence, a loss of bladder control. Nerve problems, too much fluid or too much caffeine can cause it. Often the cause is unknown.
Your health care provider may prescribe a medicine that can calm muscles and nerves. The medicine may come as a pill, a liquid or a patch. The medicines can cause your eyes to become dry. They can also cause dry mouth and constipation. To deal with these effects, use eye drops to keep your eyes moist, chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy if dry mouth bothers you and take small sips of water throughout the day.