The Good And The Bad About Bladder Pressure

Bladder Diverticulum - The term bladder pressure is normally associated with a problem affecting the urinary tract, or affecting the bladder itself. Causes include bladder diverticulum, where small pouches have formed within the bladder. These pouches are quite common and tend to increase in number as we get older. In most instances, they do not significantly contribute to pressures within the bladder and consequently are seldom a problem. Sometimes these small pouches are present at birth.

Obstruction - Another cause of excess pressure within the bladder is an obstruction in the neck of the bladder. The obstruction may be due to bladder diverticulum, due to the formation of a cyst or tumor, or due to a condition that has caused the neck of the bladder to become swollen.

Uterine Fibroids - In women, uterine fibroids can create external pressures on the bladder, as these fibroids are tumors which form in the lining of the uterus. This causes the uterus to enlarge, and press against the bladder. The fibroids can often be shrunk by the use of medications or hormone therapy, or they can be surgically removed.

Cystitis - One of the more common causes of abnormal bladder pressure is cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder most often resulting from a bacterial infection. If the infection spreads, it becomes known as a urinary tract infection, which can sometimes spread to the kidneys. When the infection is due to bacteria it is normally easily treated through the use of antibiotics.

Prostatitis - Another organ that can become inflamed due to a bacteria infection is the prostrate gland. When the prostrate gland becomes inflamed due to an infection, the condition is called prostatitis. Since the prostrate gland sits directly beneath the bladder, prostatitis can cause the pressure in the bladder to increase, leading to discomfort and a frequent need to urinate.

Ovarian Cancer - In women, one of the symptoms of ovarian cancer is a frequent need to urinate, since an ovarian tumor can increase the size of ovary enough to put pressure on the bladder. Besides a constant need to urinate, symptoms of ovarian cancer usually include pelvic pain and chances in menstruation.

Bladder problems, especially those involving inflammation or infection, tend to be much more common in women than in men. The reason for this is women have are more organs that lie in close proximity to the bladder that are somewhat prone to infection, and the infection may either spread to the bladder, or inflammation in an affected organ can put pressure on the bladder.

Bladder pressure, if excessive, can be a problem that no one particularly wants to have. There is an instance however where this pressure can be put to useful means. In this case, the pressure in the bladder may or may not cause a problem, but can aid in treating problems that can be much more serious, the problems associated with abdominal compartment syndrome.

Where Bladder Pressure Can Be Put To Good Use – While excessive bladder pressure is often indicative of a problem either in the bladder or in an adjacent organ, there are instances in which monitoring and taking measurements of the bladder pressure are a means of treating a potentially serious abdominal problem. This abdominal problem is called an abdominal compartment syndrome. The cause of this syndrome is not always known, but the effects can sometimes be lethal if left untreated.

The effects of abdominal compartment syndrome are swelling and increased pressure within the abdomen, generally due to an accumulation of fluids within the abdominal wall. If the accumulation becomes excessive, organs within the abdominal cavity, such as the kidneys, spleen, pancreas, and liver, may no longer function properly. The pressure caused by the excess fluids can also adversely impact the cardiovascular and gastro-intestinal systems. When the pressure reaches a certain amount, 20mm of mercury (Hg), the condition is called intra-abdominal hypertension. This is the threshold where the abdominal organs begin to function improperly. If the pressure should rise to 20 mm Hg, organs may begin to fail, as their blood supply becomes inadequate. If multiple organs begin to fail, abdominal compartment syndrome is in then its final phase, and death can result. The 20 mm Hg threshold is not an absolute. In general, the two thresholds mentioned here can vary from person to person.

In order to effectively treat abdominal compartment syndrome, it is very helpful to know what the level of pressure is. The pressure will be constant throughout the abdominal cavity, including the pressure being felt against the walls of the bladder. The pressure in the bladder will therefore adjust to counteract the external pressure. It is the pressure in the bladder that can be measured or monitored through the use of an indwelling urinary catheter. When the pressure is seen to be approaching a danger point, it may be necessary to perform surgery to release or relieve the abdominal pressure.

Thus, in spite of being a potential cause of discomfort, especially in women, bladder pressure does have its merits, due to its usefulness in monitoring the symptoms of a very serious abdominal disorder.