Bladder Problems


Recognise the warning signs and symptoms of a bladder control problem. Know when you should seek a doctor’s help and how you can get the most out of your visit. If you’re one of the many women who experience bladder control problems, don’t let embarrassment keep you from getting the help you need. Leaking urine, having to urinate frequently and experiencing other symptoms of urinary incontinence aren’t trivial consequences of childbirth or a natural part of ageing. Not all doctors routinely ask about urinary function during an exam. It’s up to you to take the first step. If you have bladder control problems, tell your doctor about them and ask for help.

Why to seek help

Bladder control problems require medical attention for several reasons. Reduced bladder control may, for instance:

When to seek help

A few isolated incidents of urinary incontinence don’t necessarily require medical attention. But if the problem continues or affects your quality of life, consider getting these symptoms evaluated.

Make an appointment with your primary care provider if:

In most circumstances, symptoms can be improved.

When to seek a specialist

Many health care providers can treat bladder control problems without referring you to a specialist but not all have the necessary training or experience. In spite of better understanding and the treatment of urinary incontinence, some medical health providers consider it an inevitable consequence of childbearing, menopause or normal ageing — a belief that makes them unlikely to consider you for evaluation or treatment.

If your doctor dismisses significant symptoms or seems uninformed about the many possible treatments, ask for a referral to see a specialist. Doctors who specialise in urinary disorders include:


Bladder problems are common in men as they age. Benign prostatic hyperplasia usually begins in men who are in their 40s and 50s. Problems associated with benign prostatic hypotrophy are common in men 60 and older. Many problems may be the result of an underlying issue. However, each problem may develop independently of other pathologies.


Bladder outlet obstruction is the blockage of the flow of urine from the bladder. This has several causes, including benign prostatic hyperplasia, bladder tumours, bladder cysts and bladder stones. Bladder outlet obstruction may be a sign of more serious problems, like the presence of renal kidney stones, and can be associated with renal failure.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostatic cancer may cause bladder problems in men because the prostate obstructs the urethra in both conditions. Nocturia is frequent, night-time urination (ie. more than 2 times per night). Overactive bladder is the urgent need to frequently urinate and can occur during the night. Urinary tract infections, interstitial cystitis and diabetes may also cause nocturia.


Bladder cancer may be diagnosed by ruling out other causes of bladder symptoms. Visible blood in the urine without accompanying pain can be a sign of bladder cancer, although bladder cancer may be asymptomatic. The location of the tumour may lead to other bladder problems such as urinary incontinence and bladder outlet obstruction. Symptoms may evolve to the inability of the bladder to retain an adequate amount of urine and may be accompanied by pain.


Urinary incontinence is the leakage of urine from the bladder. While it is common, it is not a normal condition. It is also treatable. There are several causes of urinary incontinence in men. The nerves controlling the bladder may become damaged. Nerve damage may result from a diabetes complication, stroke, neurological disease or injury to the spinal cord. Urinary incontinence may also result from an enlarged prostate, prostate surgery or radiation as a treatment for prostate cancer.