The feeling of bladder pressure but you’re not voiding any urine prompts a trip to the doctor, but your UTI test comes back negative.

You were kind of hoping it was a urinary tract infection since that can easily be cured with antibiotics.

So if an infection isn’t causing bladder pressure, then what might be?

“There are many reasons why a patient may have symptoms similar to a UTI [like bladder pressure] with a negative urine analysis,” says Dana Rice, MD, a board certified urologist and creator of the UTI Tracker mobile app, which helps patients catalogue daily urinary tract symptoms, medication and behavioral patterns, and offers personalized tips for UTI prevention.

For some people, it’s very puzzling that a test for a urinary tract infection would come back negative in the face of uncomfortable bladder pressure for no apparent reason.

Dr. Rice explains, “Urine cultures are a more accurate assessment of bacterial infections, but they too can be limited.

“Standard urine cultures do not test for atypical organisms such as urea and mycoplasma.

“In addition, there are other diagnoses that could present with UTI-like symptoms.”

These conditions are not infections, but could cause a sensation of pressure on the bladder despite what seems to be a complete voiding.

“Kidney stones, interstitial cystitis, overactive bladder, incomplete emptying of the bladder and even bladder cancer are a few that come to mind quickly,” says Dr. Rice.

Three more possible causes for the sensation of pressure on the bladder is a prolapsed bladder, an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer.

A few other symptoms of prostate cancer are a weak or dribbly urine stream, difficulty urinating and a burning sensation when doing so.

In their early stages, bladder cancer and prostate cancer are highly curable. Problem is, many people put off seeing a doctor, self-diagnosing themselves with a UTI.

For more information on the UTI Tracker, go to

Dr. Rice is with Inova Medical Group in Fairfax, VA, and her clinical interests include bladder, kidney and prostate cancer, minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery.
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.  



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