Distended bladder: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Distended bladder causes, symptoms and treatmentCommon issues with the bladder involve incontinence, where a person frequently visits the bathroom and may even result in the bladder leaking. A person with bladder incontinence may have to wear diapers or pads to prevent the leakage from being noticeable. Another condition occurs when a person cannot empty their bladder or even urinate. This condition is known as distended bladder.

Distended bladder can be quite painful and when severe, life-threatening.

Causes and symptoms of distended bladder


causes of distended bladderA distended bladder can result from an infection which causes the bladder to swell and the sensation to urinate, but nothing is released. In males, an enlarged prostate can put additional pressure on the bladder, resulting in distended bladder.

In other cases, medications can also lead to distended bladder. If you notice changes in your urination habits upon starting a prescription medication, you may wish to speak with your doctor. Over the counter medications can also cause a distended bladder. Common culprits are antihistamines and other medications intended to treat a cold or allergies.

Medical conditions, like blood clots and stroke, can contribute to distended bladder as they affect the spinal cord. Lastly, a distended bladder can be a side effect of the anesthesia from a recent surgery.

Symptoms of a distended bladder include:

  • Lower abdominal, lower back or chest pain
  • Bladder leakage
  • Inability to urinate (Anuria)
  • Small amounts of urine that are expelled
  • Straining while urinating
  • Delay when attempting to urinate
  • Fever or abnormal sweating
  • Red or bloody urine (Hematuria)
  • Urination which is painful
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent urination at night (Nocturia)
  • Full bladder
  • Bladder damage or kidney failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety

Treating distended bladder

treating distended bladderThe cause of distended bladder will best determine what treatment should be used. If distended bladder is linked with a medication, a change in that medication is in order. Furthermore, if distended bladder is caused by an infection, primary treatment will revolve around treating the infection.


Some home remedies to treat distended bladder include:

  • Taking a warm bath to promote urination
  • Increase physical activity which can boost urination
  • Have running water to promote urination

If home remedies don’t work to treat bladder retention, medical intervention may be required. Bladder drainage, urethral dilation, urethral stents, prostate medications and even surgery are some forms of medical treatments for distended bladder.

Early detection and treatment of bladder distention are important; if undiagnosed and left untreated it can lead to complications. Complications of distended bladder are urinary tract infections, bladder damage and chronic kidney disease. If you begin to notice changes in the way you urinate and are concerned you have distended bladder, speak with your doctor for early detection.



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