Was there a time when you felt a sudden need to urinate—and it ended up hurting tremendously when you attempted to release urine?
If so, you might be suffering a urinary condition known as a bladder spasm. Many men suffer from this medical condition, as approximately 423 million people worldwide experience some form of urinary incontinence, which is a common bladder spasm precursor.
A bladder spasm is when a bladder muscle called the detrusor causes uncomfortable or painful contractions. The involuntary contractions can cause pain when urinating and a sudden urge to urinate.
Though bladder spasms are common in older people, bladder spasms are not a normal part of aging. Fortunately, there are ways to treat this medical condition.
Read the article to know the causes, symptoms, and treatments available to help you establish better bladder control.
What Are Bladder Spasms?
Bladder spasms are sudden involuntary contractions or tightening movements of a patient’s bladder’s detrusor muscle.
These series of repeated contractions cause patients to urgently want to urinate. This symptom may also lead to urinary incontinence, or an inability to hold urine.
Bladder spasms can be painful, causing discomfort like cramps and a burning sensation when releasing urine. Bladder spasms are near-synonymous with an overactive bladder (OAB), though it should be mentioned that they are different conditions.
A common myth about bladder spasms and their consequences is their relation to aging. However, such an association has been debunked, as men can suffer from this condition regardless of their age.
That said, there are a slew of health conditions that may cause bladder spasms, which we’ll get into detail below.
Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Spasms
Two of the most common symptoms of bladder spasms are an urge to urinate and an inability to hold urine. However, the specific symptoms of bladder spasms vary depending on their cause.
Urinary Tract Infections
If a UTI causes bladder spasms, the following symptoms may be present:
- Burning sensation when voiding (urinating)
- Discolored or cloudy urine
- Strong odor from urine
- Pelvic pains
- Scant urine output
Bladder spasms caused by OAB or urge incontinence have the following symptoms:
- Urine leakage
- Frequent urination
If you have any symptoms, contact a doctor to get proper treatment.
Causes of Bladder Spasms
Various underlying medical conditions can cause bladder spasms. Some of them are described below.
Also known as urge incontinence, an overactive bladder causes an urgent need to urinate and, in other cases, involuntary urine leakage.
It’s estimated that 30% of men and 40% of women in the US have symptoms of OAB. In general, OAB is a result of another underlying health condition.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Bladder pain and burning are common symptoms of a UTI.
Bacteria such as E.coli can spread from the anus or kidney to the urethra, causing lower abdominal pain, burning or discomfort during urine release, and discolored urine.
Also called painful bladder syndrome, interstitial cystitis refers to urinary and bladder pain caused by an epithelium lining defect. The pain is recurring and often severe.
The condition is fairly widespread, affecting 3-8 million women and 1-4 million men in the United States.
Irritation from Urinary Catheter
Also known as catheter-related bladder discomfort (CRBD), the symptom of this condition mimics OAB. The catheter can cause complications due to bladder discomfort and infections.
An Unhealthy Diet
Frequent consumption of spicy, acidic, or citrusy foods may irritate the bladder lining in some people.
- Artificial sweeteners
- Caffeinated beverages
- Pickled foods
An enlarged prostate, which can frequently occur following a prostatectomy or prostate removal surgeries, can cause bladder spasm. This is because it weakens the bladder and pelvic floor muscles, causing bladder problems and sexual health dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction.
When brain signals fail to send messages to the bladder, the bladder may not work to its optimal state.
This umbrella term for this condition is often called a “neurogenic bladder”. Here are some neurological symptoms that affect the bladder:
- Brain tumors
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Diabetic neuropathy
Bladder spasms may occur as a side effect after taking certain medications. These include:
- Bethanechol (Urecholine)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Valrubicin (Valstar)
How Is a Bladder Spasm Diagnosed?
The screening process starts with the doctor checking your medical history and medication history. Following that procedure, a urine sample examination will be conducted to check for bacteria, blood, or other signs of infection. If there is no sign of infection, the doctor might perform additional tests.
These urine tests may measure leftover urine in the bladder after voiding, the speed of urination, and bladder pressure. If no specific cause is detected, the doctor will ask for a neurological test to check for nervous issues. Your clinician might also ask you to keep a bladder diary, which documents your fluid intake and urine output.
Following a diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe you one or a combination of treatment plans to help you recover.
Treatment for Bladder Spasms
Fortunately, bladder spasms are treatable. Exercise, lifestyle changes, and medication can help reduce bladder spasms.
Here’s a full list of what strategies you can undergo to manage symptoms:
- Dietary changes: If certain food products or additives are causing spasms, then keeping a food diary can be helpful for doctors to identify problem areas.
- Timed voiding: Urinating at regular intervals can help regulate urination. Timed voiding is especially useful for training patients who are minors.
- Pelvic floor exercises: Kegels, a popular exercise, help strengthen the bladder and other muscles in holding urine in the body.
- Bladder relaxation medicines: Anticholinergics are commonly prescribed drugs to relax the bladder and prevent spasms. They include oxybutynin (Oxytrol), solifenacin (Vesicare), and darifenacin (Enablex).
Other treatments such as the following are reserved for more severe cases of the condition:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) treatment
- Electrical stimulation implants
- Pain medicines
If you’re unsure about the severity of your condition, contact a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Contact Georgia’s Top Male Sexual Health Clinic for a Medical Consultation
If you have or think you have bladder spasms, don’t keep the problem to yourself. Bladder spasms can be caused by infection or any other serious underlying condition, so it’s important to seek treatment right away.
The medical professionals at men’s clinic Priority Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, Andropause, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.