What does the term "bladder problem" mean?

A bladder problem is the involuntary loss of urine or not being able to fully empty your bladder. Specifically, this could manifest as some or all of these symptoms:

  • Needing to urinate frequently.
  • Needing to urinate frequently during the night.
  • Not being able to stop yourself from urinating.
  • Needing to urinate but not being able to.
  • Pain when urinating without passing much water.
  • Continued dripping after you have finished urinating.
  • Sometimes not being able to urinate at all.
  • Incontinence – the involuntary loss of urine.
  • Burning sensation or pain when urinating.

The first step is to investigate your symptoms and the cause of your bladder problem. A doctor can look at your symptoms and suggest suitable treatments or aids, such as a catheter

An investigation into how your urinary system works can – at least in part – explain some of your symptoms. 

The urinary system

You take liquid into your body by eating and drinking. The urinary system transports this liquid through your body. Some of the liquid remains in your body and any excess liquid is used to help remove waste products from your body. This occurs either via urination or sweating.

Bladder contents

The urinary system consists of a number of organs that produce then excrete urine. The kidneys produce urine and transport waste products via the urine to the ureters; from there it is transported to the bladder, which collects all urine. When the bladder is full, the body sends a signal that it needs emptying. So, you feel the need to urinate. The normal bladder capacity of an adult is between 350 and 500 millilitres. When this capacity is reached you will usually feel the need to urinate, and you react by emptying your bladder and the urine leaves the body via the urethra.

Incontinence problems

Normally, an adult will urinate around seven times a day and once a night. Whether through an accident, an operation or a chronic illness, people can develop incontinence issues: the involuntary loss of urine. The largest group of people who have difficulty with bladder control are women who have had children, older people and men with enlarged prostates. However, bladder problems can occur at any time and in men, women or children. As you get older there are more likely to me more reasons why these occur, and the risk of developing a bladder problem becomes greater.


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