Disorders of the Bladder and Urethra

Urinary disorders are very common. The symptoms may include an increased need to empty the bladder, urinary leakage, blood in the urine, and pain during and after urination. These symptoms can often disrupt daily routine. However, most disorders of the bladder and urethra (the passage from the bladder to the outside of the body) are curable or at least controllable by treatment.

The first article in this section deals with cystitis, a condition in which the bladder becomes inflamed. Cystitis is often due to infection by bacteria from the skin around the anus. Women are particularly susceptible to the disorder because the female urethra is short and close to the anus, allowing bacteria to enter easily. In men, bladder infections are often related to an obstruction due to an enlarged prostate gland.

The next three articles cover urinary incontinence. There are several types of incontinence, all of which are more common in women and in older people of both sexes. Structural disorders are covered in the next articles; they include stones that form in the bladder and strictures that narrow the urethra, making the passing of urine difficult. The last article in this section covers bladder tumours.

Sexually transmitted infections that affect the male urethra are discussed elsewhere (see Sexually transmitted infections). Urinary tract problems that occur in children are covered in the section Reproductive and urinary system disorders.

Key anatomy

For further information on the structure and function of the bladder and urethra, see Urinary System.


Urinary Incontinence

Stress Incontinence

Urge Incontinence

Urinary Retention

Urethral Stricture

Bladder Stones

Bladder Tumours

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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