4 Causes and Known Signs of Bladder Pain

Usually not so serious, bladder pain had better not be ignored. Though it could mostly be nothing to worry about, bladder pain can reflect a serious health condition. Routine minor urinary tract infections are the most common causes of bladder pain. Women get more UTIs because of the bladder’s closeness to the reproductive organs. Though extremely rare, bladder cancer could be one of the causes, but it seems quite unlikely. Bladder Cancer is less likely in women.

Interstitial Cystitis occurs in many women when irritation and inflammation of the bladder wall are observed. However, not a UTI, Interstitial Cystitis, would get so much worse if a UTI also occurs. Thinning vaginal skin in women could cause bladder pain too. Urinary stones or calculi may form in the kidney. When urinary stones travel to the bladder and block urine flow, bladder pain may result.

Meaning and Location of Bladder

The bladder is a hollow triangular membranous sac in the abdomen that resembles a bag. The bladder collects urine from the kidneys through the two ureters. The urine is expelled from the bladder via the urethra, about 500 ml. Urination that takes place several times each day empties the bladder. The bladder swells when gathering urine. It relaxes when the urine is expelled. The bladder is located in the lower abdomen, in the middle of the pelvis. The position of the male bladder is the front of the rectum. The female bladder is in front of the vagina, beneath the uterus.

1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

The bacterial infection could occur anywhere in the urinary tract, including the bladder. Commonly found in women, the bacteria gain access to the bladder through the urethra. Unless treated in time, UTIs can get serious with complications in the kidneys and blood.


Symptoms along with bladder pain include lower abdominal pain and low back pain. Frequent painful urination is common. The urine may contain blood or appear clouded. You may feel Bladder/pelvic pressure.


The diagnosis uses urinalysis to identify red and white blood cells and bacteria. Urine culture helps to know the type of bacteria. Frequent UTIs require further testing, including ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, cystoscope, etc.


Treatment is usually oral antibiotics along with pain and burning relief medication. Severe cases require more antibiotics, with intravenous delivery being more effective.

2. Interstitial Cystitis

Pelvic pain in women caused by Interstitial Cystitis is more common than usually imagined! It is a serious kind of bladder pain, according to an expert.


The symptoms may be merely sensitivity or acute pain. Menstruation makes bladder pain even worse. Interstitial Cystitis, along with a UTI, makes it a more serious matter. The cause behind Interstitial Cystitis is not known. It is thought that allergies and stress, diet patterns, and some drugs may be the reasons.


Treatment tries to stretch the bladder along with oral medications. Electrical nerve stimulation helps to control the pain. Physical therapy helps relieve pain too. If other options do not work, surgery may be resorted to. Symptom management is the only option in the absence of a known cure.

3. Bladder Cancer

Abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in the bladder indicates the onset of cancer. Among several kinds of bladder cancers, the most common is urothelial carcinoma, also called transitional cell carcinoma. This cancer commences in the urothelial cells in the bladder lining. Men who smoke and have reached 55 years of age stand at greater risk.


Symptoms may not be present at all. Usually, blood is in the urine, but no pain is felt. Other symptoms may include frequent urination with pain and burning. Some other symptoms are trouble during urination and little urine with the urgency to urinate without a full bladder.

When bladder cancer advances, it might affect the other organs. Symptoms could include abdominal or pelvic pain along with bone pain. inability to urinate and lower back pain on one side is experienced. Loss of appetite may accompany the fatigue.


Diagnosis requires urinalysis and urine culture. A complete medical history is needed. Along with imaging tests and biopsy, cystoscopy, urine cytology, and urine tumor marker tests may be necessary.


Treatments are delivered according to the type of cancer and stage. Various kinds of treatments would probably be required.

  • Surgery may remove the bladder or a part of it. Surgery can remove tumors too.

  • Immunotherapy is used to equip the immune system to fight cancer cells. Certain medications enable the immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells.

  • Radiation kills cancer cells with high energy. It targets the early stages of bladder cancer and combines with chemotherapy. Those who cannot afford surgery use radiation that prevents advanced bladder cancer stages.

  • Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells through IV methods or pills. Intravesical chemotherapy that targets the early stages of cancer is administered straight into the bladder.

4. Reproductive System Changes in Women

Technically called atrophic vaginitis, the vaginal walls dry up without ample estrogen. An expert urogynecologist says that women experience bladder pain because of the thinning vaginal skin. During the aging process, when menopause is reached, atrophy begins, a withering process. The tissues that surround the vagina are starved of estrogen.


Diagnosis requires an examination of the pelvic organs, external genitalia, and cervix. You will need Urine testing and an acid balance test in the vagina.


Treatments use vaginal moisturizers to restore moistness and are more effective than lubricants. Water-based lubricants make sexual activity easier.

Taking an oral supplement of estrogen will not help. A vaginal estrogen cream will bring relief from the distressing symptoms.


Among the four possible causes of bladder pain in men and women, some prevail more in women like UTIs and vaginal thinning. A dedicated specialist can help to save time, money, and labor with an accurate diagnosis. With most bladder pain cases being routine UTIs, no serious problems arise. The possibility of bladder cancer does bother people, and the fear will not leave. Healthy, active lifestyles with regular hours of eating, sleeping, and avoiding substance abuse are recommended. Furthermore, hygienic habits regarding private parts and sexual matters would help prevent unnecessary problems from infections.

Updated on: 23-Jan-2023


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