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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Bladder Spasms

What Causes Bladder Spasms? continued...

However, bladder spasms may be the result of an infection or a recent surgery, or they may occur if you have nerve or muscle damage. So it's important to see a doctor to determine the cause.

In some cases, your doctor may not be able to identify the cause. When this happens, the condition is called idiopathic bladder spasms.

Some common causes of bladder spasms are:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI): Bladder pain and burning are a common symptom of a UTI.
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC), also called painful bladder syndrome: This condition refers to bladder and urinary pain that is not due to other causes, such as a urinary tract infection. Pain is recurring and often severe.
  • Catheter use: A catheter is a thin tube used to drain urine from the body, often after surgery. It is placed into the urethra and up into your bladder. Bladder spasms are a common and sometimes distressing complication of catheter usage.

Nervous System Disorders That Lead to Bladder Spasms

The feeling you get when you need to empty your bladder is normally an involuntary response. The brain signals the bladder muscle when it is time to tighten (contract) and release urine. However, certain nervous system disorders cause damage to the nerves that send signals between the brain and the bladder. When this happens, the bladder does not work properly. "Neurogenic bladder" is the general term for bladder problems due to nerve damage.

Nervous system disorders and injury that can cause bladder spasms include:

Surgery That Leads to Bladder Spasms

Surgery to the lower abdominal area may weaken the bladder or pelvic floor muscles, or cause damage to the nerves that control the bladder. Bladder spasms may occur following certain surgeries, including:

  • Bladder surgery (a common cause of bladder spasms in both children and adults)
  • Cesarean section
  • Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus, or womb, and sometimes the surrounding female organs, including the ovaries and fallopian tubes.)
  • Prostatectomy (prostate removal)
  • Other lower abdominal surgery

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