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Bladder Dysfunctions/Bladder Disorders


The following definitions discuss several different types of bladder conditions as they relate specifically to the pelvic floor.  While there may be several causes for bladder dysfunctions, physical therapists evaluate and treat them specifically as they relate to the musculoskeletal system.  Bladder conditions including those that irritate the detruser muscle (layer of smooth muscle in the bladder), urethra and musculoskeletal tissue resulting in trigger points in the muscles, muscle imbalances and chemical changes of the surrounding tissue.


Bladder Incontinence:

An Accidental loss of urine from the bladder.  This can be due to muscle weakness or spasming/tightness of pelvic floor and gluteal muscles.  There are different types of bladder incontinence.

Urge Incontinence: 
The primary symptom is a sudden and strong urge to urinate that cannot be postponed.  Sometimes there is a specific trigger such as the sound of running water or knowing  there is a toilet  near by.

Stress Incontinence: 
Stress incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine prompted by movement such as when getting out of bed, squatting, laughing or coughing.  

Mixed Incontinence: 
The unintentional loss of urine due to both urge and stress incontinence.


Neurogenic Bladder:
The loss of normal bladder function caused by damage to part of the central nervous system such as  Multiple Sclerosis.  Symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the type of nerve damage. Symptoms may include incontinence, urgency, frequent    urination, urinary retention and   repeated urinary tract infections (UTI).

Urinary Retention:
Difficulty or inability to urinate.  This may be caused by various medical conditions of the prostate(in men), kidneys or urethra.  Also, some medications can cause urinary retention.  Retention can also be a symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction, when pelvic floor muscles are in spasm.  

Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS):
Condition that results in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region.  The symptoms vary from person to person and are sometimes described as mild discomfort, pressure, tenderness, or intense pain in the bladder and pelvic area.  Symptoms may include an urgent need to urinate, increased frequency, or a combination.  Women's symptoms often get worse during   menstruation.  They may sometimes experience pain during vaginal intercourse. The term IC/PBS includes all cases of urinary pain that can't be attributed to other causes, such as infection or kidney stone.

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