Weak Bladder Causes in Males and Females

Weak bladder is a common term to denote two urinary disorders, either urinary incontinence or frequent urination. Despite the use of the term ‘weak’, there is often no functional disorder of the bladder and successful treatment will lead to normal urinary habits and bladder control. Often the same causative condition can lead to both frequent urination and urinary incontinence and the various causes may differ among males and females. A weak bladder should not be confused with a cystocele where the bladder protrudes into the vagina, commonly known as a droopy or fallen bladder.

A ‘weak bladder‘ may be associated with other signs and symptoms which is indicative of the causative conditions. Some of these symptoms :

  • Dysuria – pain or burning upon urination
  • Pelvic and/or abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Abnormal urine – color, odor
  • Straining, hesitancy or post-micturition dribbling
  • Vesical tenesmus – constant urging to pass urine

Urinary incontinence means that a person has poor bladder control and cannot prevent involuntary urination. This can vary from a few drops to a total emptying of the bladder. There are different types of urinary incontinence – stress, urge, overflow and functional incontinence. The various causes are discussed under Urinary Incontinence.

Frequent urination means that a person urinates more than is normal. The number of times a person urinates in a day can vary among individuals but with frequent urination it can reach a point where a person wakes at night to urinate (nocturia). The total volume of urine passed out in a day may be higher than normal (polyuria). The various causes are discussed under Frequent Urination.

Causes of a Weak Bladder in Both Males and Females

Urinary Incontinence

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs), especially urethritis and cystitis
  • Urinary tract stones – kidney stones, bladder stones
  • Tumors of the bladder
  • Age-related changes
  • Dementia
  • Bed-ridden patients
  • Drugs
  • Radiation therapy
  • Fecal impaction
  • Surgery of the colon or rectum
  • Congenital anatomical defect (birth)
  • Pelvic nerve damage :
    • Diabetic neuropathy
    • Disc prolapse (lower column)
    • Infection
    • Tumor
    • Trauma including surgical damage
  • Neurological diseases/nerve damage :
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Stroke
    • Damage to the spinal cord (upper) or pons

Frequent Urination

  • Anxiety
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes)
  • Cystitis
  • Kidney disease
  • Overactive bladder syndrome
  • Neurogenic bladder
  • Tumors of the bladder or other parts of the urinary tract
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Urethral strictures
  • Urinary stones
  • Urinary tract infections

Causes of a Weak Bladder in Women

Urinary Incontinence

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Post menopause
  • Cystocele
  • Pelvic surgery including hysterectomy, cesarean section
  • Urogenital fistulas

Frequent Urination

  • Pregnancy
  • Cystocele
  • Vaginitis
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Causes of a Weak Bladder in Men

Urinary Incontinence

Frequent Urination

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Prostatitis
  • Prostate cancer

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