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What is Bladder Pain?

What is Bladder Pain?

Located in the lower part of the abdomen; the bladder is the organ that stores urine until it can be passed. Numerous problems can cause pain in the bladder. In most cases, the cause of bladder pain can be treated. When left untreated, however, it can lead to severe complications.

Bladder Pain Causes

The most common causes of bladder pain include urinary tract infections, bladder infections, interstitial cystitis, and bladder cancer. Infections of the bladder or urinary tract occur when bacteria enters the urethra. In addition to bladder pain, patients may also experience a painful, burning sensation during urination, bloody urine, low fever, or an urgent need to urinate. Interstitial cystitis is a chronic inflammation and irritation of the bladder that causes stiffening of the bladder wall. When this occurs, the bladder may not be able to expand fully. Pain is typically felt when the bladder fills, and patients also commonly experience frequent urination. Bladder cancer is less common than infections and interstitial cystitis, but it is a relatively common source of chronic bladder pain.

When to see a Doctor

Less often, bladder pain may occur as the result of injury or other diseases. Endometriosis, bowel disorders, and malignant tumors may also cause pain that is felt in the bladder. These problems may present with many of the same symptoms that are typical with more common conditions. As a result, it is important to seek medical attention for bladder pain, especially when it is accompanied by additional symptoms like painful urination, bloody urine, or fever.

Treatment Options

Doctors are often able to determine the cause of bladder pain through urine tests. When urinalysis does not reveal the cause, however, additional testing may be needed. Ultrasounds or cystoscopy may be used to see the bladder. Many problems can be treated through medications. Infections typically respond well to broad-spectrum antibiotics while other conditions may require more specialized medications. Depending upon the exact cause, treatment may be aimed at curing the condition or managing the symptoms. Procedures like nerve stimulation or bladder distention may be recommended. Typically, surgery is only necessary when other methods are not effective.


With treatment, common problems like urinary tract and bladder infections can be cured using prescription medications. Other conditions like interstitial cystitis can usually be managed through medications as well. In severe cases or when infections or other conditions are left untreated, major complications may develop. In most cases, however, the prognosis for bladder pain is generally good.