All You Need To Know About Bladder Pain In Women
The bladder is a hollow triangle-shaped organ that collects and expels urine from the body. This very flexible organ is located in the middle of your pelvis. Bladder pain can arise from a range of health issues in both women and men. However, it is more common in women. Here is an overview of the common causes of bladder pain in women and how they are diagnosed and treated.
Bladder Pain In Women
1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common causes of bladder pain in women. UTIs occur when pathogens (bacteria) enter the urinary tract and multiply. Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections. The shorter urethra (the tube which passes urine out of the body) in women may make it easier for a microbe to reach the bladder.
Bladder pain is a common symptom of UTIs. People may also experience an urgent need to urinate, a burning feeling during urination, a strong odor to the urine, or cloudy or blood-tinged urine. When the infection spreads to the kidneys and worsens, people may experience fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the lower back.
Your doctor might recommend some urine tests to check for bacteria and blood cells. A urine culture will let your doctor know the type of bacteria. Most urinary tract infections clear up with oral antibiotics. When the infection does not clear, or in case of repeated infections, your doctor may recommend further testing and prescribe a long course of antibiotics.
Tips To Prevent Infections
- Drink plenty of water which helps flushing out the pathogens from the urinary tract.
- Do not hold the urine and urinate as soon as possible whenever you feel the need to urinate.
- Use mild unscented soaps and products for cleaning reproductive parts.
- Avoid using the diaphragm and use other methods of birth control, particularly if you have frequent infections.
- Wipe from the front to back after urinating or bowel movements, which prevents the germs in the anus from entering the vagina.
- Drink cranberry juice which contains compounds called proanthocyanidins. This helps prevent urinary tract infections.
2. Painful Bladder Syndrome
Painful bladder syndrome, also called bladder pain syndrome or interstitial cystitis, is a long-term pain condition that affects the bladder. It affects more women than men. It can occur at any age, but symptoms may differ based on age. Urge to urinate, frequent urination, pressure or discomfort during urinating, and urinating in small amounts are other symptoms of this syndrome.
Researchers still do not know what causes painful bladder syndrome, but the risk is higher if you have a bladder infection, have a family history of painful bladder syndrome and certain conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis. Certain factors such as stress, diet, taking some medications, bladder injury, or infections may trigger the flares in symptoms.
There is no particular test to tell if you have this condition. Your doctor will do some tests to rule out other health problems such as bladder cancer, kidney stones, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections. There is no cure, but treatments to reduce symptoms include physical therapy, medications, bladder instillation, nerve stimulation. If other treatments do not work, your physician may suggest surgery to remove parts of the bladder or bladder.
Steps You Can Take At Home
Some of the lifestyle remedies can help reduce the symptoms.
- Reduce stress through healthy coping techniques. You can try yoga, massage, breath focus, etc.
- Some foods may cause discomfort in people with painful bladder syndrome. Make a note of what irritates and limit them. You may also need to avoid alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, tomatoes, and chocolate.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing which does not put pressure on the abdomen.
- Stay physically active. Exercise can improve blood flow and strengthen the muscles.
- Discuss with your doctor about pelvic muscle relaxation exercises. It can help provide relief.
3. Vaginal Thinning
Thinning of the vaginal walls may occur when the body has less estrogen hormone. It can also cause bladder pain in women. Thinning of vaginal skin is more common in perimenopausal women.
It can also occur during breastfeeding, due to surgical removal of both ovaries, after pelvic radiation therapy for cancer, or when taking medicines (such as birth control pills) that affect estrogen levels. Your doctor may prescribe vaginal estrogen creams to ease symptoms.
Bladder pain could be due to the medical conditions listed above or other disorders. Fortunately, bladder pain is not serious most of the time, and, in most cases, it is caused by a urinary tract infection, which can be treated with antibiotics. But it is essential to get evaluated by a health care professional if you have pain. The physician can determine the cause and reduce the risk of complications.