Bladder pain - causes, symptoms and therapy

Bladder pain - causes, symptoms and therapy

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When the bladder hurts, we usually notice it directly above the pubic bone, or, much more unpleasantly, in the entire lower abdomen. Bladder pain can have different reasons. The treatment of the complaints is also varied.

The bladder lies on the pelvic floor and collects the urine. At more than 350 milliliters, we feel the urge to urinate, but a healthy bladder also stores up to a liter. The bladder is divided into the bladder body, bladder neck and bladder base.

A ureter connects the bladder to the kidneys, the waste products of which pass into the bladder with the urine to be disposed of via the urethra.

The bubble works like a balloon. When the urine fills it, it becomes a ball. Smooth muscles make them very stretchy.

Bladder pain is accompanied by a burning sensation when peeing. If the bladder is inflamed, we feel a strong pressure to empty ourselves, even with small amounts of urine.


Bladder pain is easy to diagnose. Blood and urine tests clarify the causes in many cases. If the cause remains unclear, ultrasound helps.

Inflammation of the bladder often triggers the pain. If we have to go to the toilet all the time and the pee hurts, such an inflammation is likely.

Women particularly often suffer from cystitis, especially during menopause and during pregnancy. The bladder is sensitive to the cold, and we quickly develop a bladder infection if we sit on cold surfaces or have cold feet. The nerves that supply the bladder are also located under the soles of the feet.

Bladder stones also cause pain in the bladder and discomfort when urinating. A so-called irritable bladder increases the risk of bladder infections and bladder stones.

If the vagina or uterus becomes inflamed, this also causes pain in the bladder. A lowered uterus also shows problems with the bladder.

Men who have prostate problems, whether it is an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer or an inflamed prostate, also have urinary problems and severe pain in the bladder and abdomen.

Cancer also affects the bladder itself, which is reflected in burning pain that becomes chronic.


Bladder infections are inflammation of the urinary tract caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. These germs usually get into the bladder from the outside, ignite it and irritate the bladder wall. As with the "cold", cold is not the cause, but hypothermia and an unstable immune system help the pathogens penetrate.

It becomes difficult when those affected suffer from risk factors that promote the infection.

These are:

1) A general weakness of the immune system

2) Urinary congestion with enlarged prostate, narrowing of the urethra, urinary stones or bladder tumors

3) Urine reflux from the bladder into the ureter

4) Nerve disorders that cause the bladder system to stop working

5) Recurrent cystitis

6) pregnancy and menopause

7) pre-existing conditions such as diabetes

8) Permanent catheters irritate the bladder permanently and connect it to the bacteria-rich outside world.

Without these basic complaints, home remedies help. Generally, you should keep warm like an inflamed bladder and drink bladder and kidney teas.


The main responsible for bladder infections are Escherichia coli bacteria. These bacteria belong to the natural community of the intestine. Most of the time we infect ourselves: if we clean the anus from back to front instead of from front to back after using the toilet, the bacteria can get from the anus into the urethra and into the bladder. For anatomical reasons, this is easier for women than for men.

If we do not clean ourselves properly or only insufficiently after bowel movements, the bacteria also spread. For this reason, people who cannot clean themselves like sick or infants regularly need fresh diapers.

We should also pay attention to cleanliness when anal intercourse and change from anal to vaginal intercourse.

However, a lot of other pathogens can also cause cystitis: staphylococci, streptococci, glue sores or Candida albicans.

Cystitis is common in metabolic disorders, frequent intercourse and pregnancy: during pregnancy, the urinary tract widens and opens up for bacteria.

Consequences of cystitis

If the inflammation rises through the ureters, it can spread to kidney and pelvic inflammation and trigger chronic kidney damage. In pregnancy, bladder infection can cause premature labor and lead to premature or even miscarriage.

Therefore, there is a urine test for pregnant women to detect bladder infection early.

When is the doctor asked?

A mild cystitis is no reason to go to the doctor. It is no more dangerous than a cold and will pass if we keep the bladder warm and drink a lot.

However, we should definitely see a doctor if the pain persists for more than three days, there is blood in the urine, we have a fever, the cystitis keeps coming back, we are pregnant, our immune system is weakened or we suffer from diabetes.


The doctor first asks for the exact symptoms and takes a urine sample. Therefore, we should wash the genital area before going to the doctor. We drain some urine in a clean cup, but neither the first nor the last drops, but the so-called central jet. That means we only pee in the cup after a few seconds.

The doctor recognizes in a urine strip test which substances the urine contains. White blood cells show whether there is inflammation. They are the "warriors" of our immune system and collect where germs have entered to fight them. Nitrite secrete bacteria. Since it is usually not in the urine, the substance is an indicator that germs have settled.

A laboratory test shows how many bacteria are in the urine. If the inflammation persists, the doctor must prescribe antibiotics. To do this, he breeds a strain of bacteria and determines which antibiotics work best against the pests.

If the bladder infection is complicated, an ultrasound examination is necessary. The doctor uses it to recognize whether the kidneys or urinary tract or kidneys change, what happens when the prostate enlarges, a tumor grows or bladder stones block the flow of urine.

The doctor also examines the residual urine to determine whether urine remains in the bladder. If there is too much urine in the bladder, this indicates an emptying disorder.

If there is a suspicion of complicated cystitis, the urologist is asked. The examines with X-ray and measures the urine flow and thus recognizes whether de urine flows back into the ureter.

If bladder cancer is suspected, the specialist inserts an endoscope into the bladder. He sees the bladder from the inside and sees if tumors are growing.

Home remedies

We can treat mild cystitis ourselves with simple means. A hot water bottle, warm full baths or full baths and warm, warm compresses on the abdomen alleviate the symptoms, because they relax the bladder muscles. Drinking a lot of herbal teas and water is recommended. This will "flush" the bladder. The toilet visits are also less painful. In the pharmacy there are special “blister teas” to buy.

Bacteria as the cause of bladder pain

If bacteria are the cause, the doctor prescribes antibiotics such as co-trimoxazole, fosfomycin or nitrofurantonin.

As with all antibiotics, you should not stop taking them too soon, even if the symptoms improve. As a rule, the pain decreases after one day.

If the pain keeps coming back, the bacteria may be resistant to the chosen antibiotic. Then the doctors have to design a new antibiogram, i.e. use alternative antibiotics.


We can simply protect ourselves against mild bladder infections.

1) Drink enough. When we provide the bladder with fluid, it flushes the pathogens out with the urine.

2) Do not go to the toilet until the bladder is full. This also helps as an "emergency program" if, for example, when traveling, we cannot maintain normal personal hygiene or cannot change our underwear on a daily basis.

3) Clean from front to back and not the other way around. This is how we prevent bacteria from the intestine from entering the urethra.

4) Wear cotton underwear, change them regularly and wash them at 60 degrees.

5) Wash the genitals regularly with warm water.

6) Condoms protect against bacteria that are transmitted during sexual intercourse. However, we should change them, especially after anal sex.

7) Keep feet warm and change wet underwear, especially after swimming to avoid hypothermia.

8) Cranberries help against coli bacteria

Chronic cystitis

If we constantly suffer from bladder pain without causing problems in the urine, the doctors call it an irritable bladder. This can have various causes, and these often remain unknown after years of investigation.

Bladder mirroring is the order of the day because the chronic symptoms can be signs of a tumor. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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Video: Bladder Pain Syndrome. Medicine Video Lectures. Medical Student Education. V-Learning (December 2022).