The feeling of bladder pressure, even though you don’t have to “go,” has many potential causes including three kinds of cancer.
Causes of Bladder Pressure
Urinary tract infection. “Urinary tract infections are common and can be quite painful,” says Walter Gaman, MD, FABFM, board certified in family medicine and the author of several award-winning books including “Age to Perfection: How to Thrive to 100, Happy, Healthy, and Wise.”
“The first sign of a UTI is often cloudy urine followed by painful urination. Urinary tract infections are more common in women than in men,” says Dr. Gaman.
Cystitis. The bacteria that cause a UTI can also inflame the bladder. The feeling of pressure on the bladder is caused by muscle spasms, not urine buildup.
Prostatitis. “The prostate is a gland the size of a walnut,” says Dr. Gaman. “It sits just below the bladder. The function of the prostate is to produce semen. When the prostate becomes enlarged, it’s called prostatitis.
“Although the cause of prostatitis isn’t always known, a common cause is bacterial infection that is relieved with antibiotics.
“Because of the location of the prostate, inflammation can put pressure on the bladder. That pressure can cause nighttime urination, painful urination, a feeling of fullness or pressure on the bladder, and even cloudy urine.
“Men often notice that their urine stream is weak, a tell-tale sign that they have prostatitis. This happens because the enlarged prostate is interfering with the bladder and urinary tract.”
Uterine fibroids. These benign masses can exert pressure that affects the bladder.
Endometriosis. Uterine tissue grows behind the uterus or endometrium, affecting the bladder.
Medical conditions not directly related to the urinary tract. These include a spinal cord injury or other neurological disorder that gives way to an overactive bladder. This is caused by impaired neuromuscular function.
Obstruction. A kidney stone or benign mass can cause an obstruction in the urethra, impeding the flow of urine.
Cancers that Can Cause
Obstruction. An obstruction in the ureter can also be a malignant mass.
Bladder cancer. You’ll feel you need to relieve yourself even though there is no urine to void. The tumor is pressing on the bladder. Other symptoms may be blood in the urine.
Ovarian Cancer. The growing cancerous mass can cause the ovaries and the uterus to put pressure on the bladder, creating the illusion that urine needs to be voided.
Bladder Pressure Remedies
Preventing a urinary tract infection is the first line of prevention of bladder pressure.
“Prevention of urinary tract infections stems from the protection of the urethra from bacteria,” says Dr. Gaman. “If you are prone to UTIs, there are several things you can do to help prevent them.”
First, avoid wearing tight underwear; this can trap bacteria.
When you feel you must “go,” then do so. Holding it in can help proliferate bacteria.
“Always urinate and wash up before and after sex,” says Dr. Gaman. “This helps clear anything out of the urethra that may have been backwashed during intercourse.
“Limit the amount of sex you’re having to no more than four times a week. ‘Honeymoon bladder’ is a common term used by medical professionals to describe the common UTIs that occur in newlyweds who have frequent sex.
“Skip the bath and opt for showers instead. This is especially true if you add bath bubbles or body wash to your bath. If you do take a bath, be sure to urinate immediately after.
“Drink plenty of water. Dilute urine is better for a sensitive bladder and urinary tract than concentrated urine. Limit the amount of tea and coffee.
“Avoid spermicidal jelly and other lubricants that can cause irritation.
“Always wipe front to back. A common cause of UTIs is E.coli bacteria. E.coli is common in stool, but can cause serious infections if it reaches the vaginal area and travels to the bladder.”
Dr. Gaman is a partner at Executive Medicine of Texas and is with the Staying Young Radio Show 2.0 podcast.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.