Human Anatomy – Bladder

human-anatomy-bladderAfter urine is formed in the kidney, it goes down to the urinary bladder for storage. This organ lets you control when and where you want to urinate.

Voluntary muscles line the bladder, which is located at the rear of the pelvic bone. The bladder muscles can expand to hold as much as 600 mL of urine. Emptied of urine, the bladder looks like a pear-shaped sac.

Whenever you urinate, the bladder’s muscles undergo a contraction, opening a pair of valves or sphincters for the urine to flow out. Urine then gushes down the urethra, which excretes the liquid out of the body.

Bladder conditions and diseases

Urination is a voluntary activity for the most part. When you were much younger however, you may have encountered problems with your bladder at night. Children 5 years old and above are notorious for wetting their bed during sleep, a condition known as nocturnal enuresis.

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Involuntary urination is not exclusively a realm of children though. In old age, you could suffer from urinary incontinence, which can be attributed to a number of factors. One of the most oft-cited causes is an overly active detrusor, a muscle in the bladder. Apparently, this muscle could make involuntary contractions, forcing you to “leak” without meaning to.

Here are other conditions known to affect the bladder:

  • Dysuria. Discomfort or pain while urinating. Often caused by an infected or inflamed bladder and/or genitals
  • Urinary retention. Bladder swells to store more urine than usual, as much as a quart. Caused usually by a blockage, e.g. urinary stones
  • Calculi (urine stones). Kidney stones are flushed down to the bladder, where they obstruct urine flow. Causes dysuria
  • Cystitis. Inflammation of the bladder
  • Cystocele. Pelvic muscles in women weaken, causing the bladder to bear down on the vagina. Leads to a variety of urination problems. Child delivery often the cause
  • Bladder cancer. Caused usually by smoking and exposure to chemicals, cancer of the bladder initially manifests itself with blood in the urine (hematuria).

Treating bladder conditions

Healthy lifestyle enthusiasts recommend Kegel exercises not only for those battling from urinary incontinence but also problems with orgasm. A Kegels exercise is simply done by stopping the flow for a few seconds during urination, resuming it before stopping again.

Cancer of the bladder is usually treated with surgery. Cystocele and urinary incontinence may also need surgery.

To treat a blocked urine flow, doctors take steps no more drastic than bladder catheterization. Introducing a catheter to the bladder can remove pressure from the organ.

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Anti-spasm medicines can provide some relief from incontinence and an overactive detrusor.

Tests for bladder conditions

Usually, doctors order a urinalysis when diagnosing conditions related to the bladder or the kidney. Urinalysis is a urine test, conducted by using a dipstick for collecting urine, which is then viewed through a microscope.

In a more advanced method, the doctor lets you take multiple urodynamic tests. These tests measure the flow and pressure of urine, helping detect conditions in the bladder.

In another method, a narrow endoscope, which carries a tiny camera on its tip, is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. This test, called a cystoscopy, would easily diagnose a wide range of bladder diseases and conditions.

Human Anatomy Series NavigationHuman Anatomy – Kidneys

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4 Responses

  1. healy says:

    If you have a problem about urinary incontinence then you should contact your family doctor while suffering from this problem. Take note, exercise may help to regain the flexibility of the muscles and this way may help to control the leakage of overactive bladder

  2. I have often heard that the simplest of mistakes like holding back the need to pass urine when the bladder seems to be full and exerting pressure can cause internal damage though it doesn’t surface for the first few years. I was hoping you could provide a bit more information in the form of healthy tips or preventive measures to prevent the formation of cysts or stones in the bladder since this seems to be a rather common problem.

  3. CieAura says:

    I’m always worried if I got UTI or incontinence in my system. Good thing after a series of test, I found out that my urine is healthy.

  4. Miniclip says:

    I’ve heard that the first urine we let out in the day is actually very nutritious and safe to drink.
    What do you think of that? Is it true?

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