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Pain Management Health Center

Bladder Pain

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Urinary Tract Infection

The urinary tract is normally sterile, but sometimes bacteria can sneak in through the urethra, which connects the bladder with the outside of the body. A urinary tract infection can affect any part of the urinary system, including the bladder, ureters, urethra, and kidneys. However, it is most common in the bladder (cystitis). Women are much more likely than men to develop a bladder infection.

Symptoms of a bladder infection may include:

  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Pain or tenderness in the abdomen
  • Cloudy, bloody, or foul-smelling urine
  • Low-grade fever

Doctors diagnose urinary tract infections by taking a urine sample and testing it for bacteria.

Antibiotics can be prescribed for a few days to treat a bladder infection. Also, drink plenty of fluids to flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.

Bladder Cancer

Just as cancer can form in other organs, it can develop in the bladder. The most common type of bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma, which begins in the innermost layer of tissue lining the bladder.

In addition to bladder pain, other symptoms of bladder cancer can include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain during urination
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Frequent urination or urgent need to urinate
  • Lower back pain

The following tests may be used to diagnose bladder cancer:

Cystoscopy. The doctor inserts a thin, lighted tube called a cystoscope into the bladder. During the test, the doctor can remove tissue samples from the bladder to be checked in the lab for cancer (biopsy). Bladder washings may also be performed to check for the presence of cancer cells. A procedure called flourescence cystoscopy is another way doctors can check for cancer.

Imaging tests. A CT or MRI scan is used to take detailed images of the bladder, which are sent to a computer screen. Your doctor may inject a special dye to help the bladder show up more clearly. Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a series of X-rays taken of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder using a contrast dye to highlight these organs.

Urinalysis and urine culture. The doctor tests a sample of your urine for bacteria and other substances that can indicate disease.

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