Bladder function disorders

Bladder function disorders

What are bladder function disorders?

The term ‘bladder function disorder’ relates to any condition impeding the bladder’s ordinary behaviour. It is most often used to describe neurogenic bladder dysfunction, but also includes many other conditions which make the bladder empty too often or not often enough.

Common bladder function disorders include:

  • Neurogenic bladder – a condition which develops when nerve function is impeded, preventing the bladder from operating regularly. Parkinson’s disease, stroke, diabetes, or injury may result in this. About 90% of people with spinal cord injuries develop neurogenic bladder.
  • Overactive bladder – in which sudden, involuntary contractions of the bladder’s muscle wall create a sudden and unstoppable urge to urinate. It can result from nerve damage, infections, and bladder trauma.
  • Bladder prolapse (cystocele) – characterised by the bladder bulging into the front wall of the vagina, prolapse is most common in women who have previously given birth.
  • Bladder outflow obstruction – a physical blockage which prevents urine from leaving the bladder effectively. The blockage may be a bladder stone, tumour, enlarged prostate, or a result of scarring from injury or surgery.

Symptoms of bladder function disorders

Symptoms of a bladder function disorder can include:

  • Sudden urges to urinate which are difficult to resist or control
  • Dribbling or leaking urine (in everyday life or during sexual activities)
  • Inability to empty the bladder completely
  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Inability to feel when the bladder is full
  • Frequent need to urinate (eight or more times in 24 hours)
  • Waking more than twice to urinate in the night (nocturia)
  • Inability to urinate (urinary retention)

Remember that your own experience with a bladder function is individual – you may not experience every symptom or may experience slightly different symptoms to those specified. For further advice and diagnosis, request a referral from your GP to visit Sandhurst Urology.

Preventing bladder function disorders

Some influencing factors – such as age, hormonal changes, or neurological disorders – cannot be avoided. However, managing the following lifestyle factors may decrease your chance of developing a bladder dysfunction disorder:

  • Limit caffeine – caffeine is thought to irritate the bladder’s tissues and cause involuntary contractions which result in urinary urgency.
  • Quit smoking – nicotine is thought to aggravate the bladder muscle and increase your risk of incontinence, while smoking also increases your susceptibility to bladder cancer.
  • Check your medications – some common drugs used to treat depression, high blood pressure, and kidney stones can lead to bladder dysfunction. If your medications impact your bladder function, consider speaking to your doctor about other options.
  • Manage your weight – excess body weight can stress the pelvic floor and place pressure on the bladder. Losing 5–10% of your total body weight can lead to significant bladder function benefits.

Treatments for bladder function disorders

Treatments for bladder dysfunction can vary widely, often depending on the condition’s underlying cause. Options offered by Sandhurst Urology include:

  • Medications – some drugs can relieve bladder spasms and reduce urge incontinence. Your GP or Dr Hall can prescribe these.
  • Botox injections – these may be used to treat urge incontinence or an overactive bladder. Botox temporarily paralyses muscles, preventing spasms which may cause urinary urges.
  • Physical therapy – improving pelvic and bladder muscle strength can increase bladder control, particularly if you have urge incontinence. Dr Hall can recommend exercises or provide referrals to a physiotherapist.
  • Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) management – if noncancerous prostate enlargement causes bladder dysfunction, therapies which reduce the prostate’s size may reduce your symptoms. These may include medications or surgeries.
  • Urethral sling surgery – this surgery places a small ‘sling’ of mesh-like tape across the urethra, holding it in a new position. Please note that Sandhurst Urology does not perform female urethral sling surgery.
  • Artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) – severe urinary incontinence in men may be treated by implanting this small device. It sits inside your body, holding the urethra closed until you squeeze a small pump in your scrotum.

Providing Excellent Urological Care of the Highest Standards

Book a consultation with Sandhurst Urology today

Scroll to Top