What are Bladder Spasms?
Bladder spasms are a result of uncontrollable bladder contractions and tightening. If these contractions continue, you might start feeling an urge to urinate. As a result, most people use the term bladder spasms to describe conditions involving an overactive bladder. An overactive bladder is also referred to as urge incontinence. Because of the uncontrollable bladder, you will continuously feel an urgent need to urinate, accompanied by involuntary urine leakage. It’s crucial to understand that bladder spasms are only symptoms. Other things usually cause an underlying issue.
In some instances, bladder spasms can also be caused by an infection. They are often seen when one has a UTI. Apart from the urgency to urinate, you might also feel burning and pain. If the UTI is treated properly, the bladder spasms will go away. Read on to find out more about what are bladder spasms and how to stop bladder spasms.
What Does a Bladder Spasm Feel Like?
One of the most common bladder spasm symptoms is feeling an urgent need to urinate. As a result, the bladder spasms might cause urine leakage, otherwise known as urinary incontinence. If a urinary tract infection is causing bladder spasms, you might also notice the following bladder spasm symptoms:
- A burning sensation during urination
- Failure to fully empty the bladder
- Urine that has a cloudy, red, or pink appearance
- Strong smelling urine
- Pain in the pelvic area
- uncontrollable bladder contractions
On the other hand, if your bladder spasms are a result of an overactive bladder, you can also experience the following bladder spasm symptoms:
- Leakage of urine before you get to the toilet
- Frequent passing of urine, sometimes up to eight times per day
- Waking up once or twice during the night to urinate
What Causes Bladder Spasms?
Bladder spasms are more common in older people. However, they aren’t necessarily a part of aging. Instead, they are a sign that there is an underlying cause, which, if left untreated, can cause more serious problems. Apart from UTIs and an overactive bladder, the spasms can also be caused by:
- Taking a lot of caffeine or alcohol
- Different types of medications, including bethanechol and furosemide
- Bladder Stones
- Kidney disease
- Enlarged prostate
- Urinary catheter
Apart from the list of conditions above, bladder spasms can also be caused by neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Multiple sclerosis.
How to Stop Bladder Spasms
Wondering how to stop bladder spasms? There are several ways to treat bladder spasms. You must understand that the doctor will not aim to treat the spasms as they are only a symptom. Instead, the aim will be to address the question of what are bladder spasms resulting from. In most cases, a combination of treatments will be used. Here are some of the treatments used to address bladder spasms.
Botulinum-A toxin is known to help with the treatment of nerve-related bladder spasms in children and adults. This chemical stops nerves from releasing signals that cause muscles to contract. If your bladder spasms are nerve-related, the doctor will inject botox directly into the muscles of the bladder wall.
If your bladder spasms are being caused by certain foods, then a dietary change can help to reduce the symptoms. You must keep a food diary as this will help you track your meals and note any changes in your symptoms.
This method also helps with bladder spasms. It involves taking timed trips to the toilet to urinate. For instance, you can go to the bathroom every 1.5 to 2 hours. This method is especially helpful for children. As the condition gets better, you can start taking fewer trips to the bathroom.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, otherwise known as Kegels, are a type of physical therapy that is used to strengthen the bladder and muscles that help you hold in urine. These exercises are quite useful when trying to help children suffering from bladder spasms. The trick is for one to tighten their pelvic floor muscles. In simpler terms, all you need to do is act as if you were trying to stop urine from coming out. These exercises take practice. It is important for you to talk to your doctor and find out exactly how they should be done.
Medicines that Relax the Bladder
Doctors usually use a class of drugs known as anticholinergics as bladder spasm medication. These drugs include tartrate, oxybutynin chloride, darifenacin, oxybutynin, and trospium chloride. You must note that these drugs have some side effects. For instance, you may experience some constipation and dry mouth. Another drug also used to help with bladder spasms is an antidepressant known as imipramine hydrochloride. This drug helps to relax the muscles that make up the bladder wall and effectively reduces the occurrence of bladder spasms. Other medicines, like alpha-blockers, can also be prescribed to help the bladder relax. Apart from that, they also help the bladder to empty completely.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, also known as TENS, is another method of dealing with bladder spasms. During this procedure, mild electrical pulses are sent to the bladder using patches applied to the skin. These electrical pulses will improve blood flow and will cause the release of hormones that block pain. This technique is also used to relieve muscle pain. When it comes to bladder spasms, doctors also believe that the improved blood flow to the bladder also makes bladder muscles stronger. This reduces the risk of urine leakage.
Electrical Stimulation Implant
The implant is placed under your skin, and it delivers gentle pulses to the bladder at regular intervals. However, unlike other methods, this technique will only be prescribed if you are suffering from severe bladder spasms. It can also be used in cases where you have urge incontinence that does not respond to other treatment methods.
Pain Medicine and Sedatives
If you are suffering from catheter-related bladder spasms, it might benefit you if you were given pain medications and sedatives as bladder spasm medication. However, these drugs might not be able to take away all the discomfort. Researchers also suggest that prescription anti-inflammatory medications like ketorolac could also help stop catheter- or surgery-related bladder spasms in children.
There are other treatments that might be recommended to complement bladder spasm medication. For instance, if you are retaining a significant amount of urine due to failure to empty the bladder, you might be catheterized . This involves the insertion of a thin, flexible catheter into the bladder. It will then provide an exit route for urine.