Everyone feels pressure when their bladder is full so they know that they have to pee. People who suffer from bladder spasms are not so lucky as the pressure builds up gradually allowing them to time their voiding according to their daily activities. Bladder spasms are involuntary or involuntary contractions of the muscles that control the bladder. The contractions occur without warning, cause a sudden urge to pass urine, result in bedwetting, and sometimes may be very painful. Spasms can cause a condition known as overactive bladder, or urge incontinence. Fortunately, you can take certain steps to help control your bladder.
Part 1 of 4: Coping with Bladder Spasm with Muscle Training
Step 1. Strengthen your pelvic muscles
Do Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises. This exercise can help strengthen your pelvic muscles, the muscles that support the bladder. Men can do Kegel exercises too! To start strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, you first need to identify the right muscles.
- When you urinate, use your muscles to stop midstream urine. If you can do this, you have identified one of the muscles associated with the pelvis and bladder support. Do not continue to stop your urinary flow as this can increase the chance of developing other problems, including urinary tract infections.
- Another way to identify the right muscles is to imagine that you are trying to prevent passing gas in public. The muscles you squeeze are the muscles you need to exercise to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Step 2. Talk to your doctor
Your doctor or physical therapist can help you find other ways to precisely identify the muscles you need to work on to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
- Once you're sure you've found the right muscles, be careful not to contract or contract other muscles as you do the exercise. If you contract another muscle, you will put more pressure on your bladder.
- Also do not hold your breath while doing the exercise.
Step 3. Practice with different positions often
If your doctor agrees that this form of exercise might help, do your pelvic floor exercises three times each day, and in three different positions.
- Do the exercise while you are lying down, sitting, and standing.
- Hold each stretch for about three seconds, then relax for three seconds. Try to achieve 10 to 15 of the same exercises in each position.
- As you become more comfortable with these exercises, increase the length of the contractions.
Step 4. Be patient
It may take up to two months to begin to notice a difference in the frequency or severity of your bladder spasms.
Remember, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through exercise may only be one part of an effective treatment to reduce, or get rid of, your bladder spasms
Part 2 of 4: Changing Your Lifestyle
Step 1. Implement a process called timed voiding
Record the times of day when you have the most spasms, or bedwetting. Schedule times throughout the day to urinate. Maintain this schedule for a few weeks to ensure that you empty your bladder often enough to avoid spasms and bedwetting.
- Gradually extend the time between urinations. This will gradually train your bladder to hold a little more urine, strengthening the muscles to prevent spasms.
- Avoid drinking fluids two hours before bed to help control your bladder throughout the night.
Step 2. Monitor what you eat
Certain foods can trigger bladder spasms. Pay close attention to the foods you eat, and eliminate foods that seem to be triggers for you.
- Highly acidic foods, such as oranges and tomatoes, and spicy foods are said to be associated with triggering bladder spasms.
- Chocolate and foods or drinks that contain artificial sweeteners may also trigger bladder spasms.
Step 3. Limit your intake of drinks containing alcohol or caffeine
Drinks that are high in caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks, can cause spasms. Likewise drinks that contain high acid, such as orange juice.
- Alcohol and caffeinated drinks can cause your bladder to fill quickly, triggering bedwetting and spasms.
- Drinks containing large amounts of citrus can irritate the bladder and cause bladder spasms.
- Try to increase your drinking throughout the day, rather than drinking large amounts in a short period of time.
Step 4. Avoid bubble baths
Strong soaps as well as foaming soap ingredients have been reported to trigger bladder spasms.
The ingredients in soaps and bath products may contain strong fragrances or ingredients that can irritate your bladder and cause spasms
Step 5. Monitor your weight
Excess body weight will increase the pressure on the bladder. Talk to your doctor about establishing a healthy weight loss program to help control your bladder spasms.
Step 6. Quit smoking
Besides being bad for your general health, smoking also irritates the bladder muscles. "Smoker's cough," a chronic cough caused by lung irritation from smoking, can also trigger bladder spasms and lead to bedwetting.
Talk to your doctor about a smoking cessation program. You can also refer to Quitting Smoking for more tips
Part 3 of 4: Seeking Medical Help
Step 1. Ask your doctor about medication
There are approved medications to help control bladder. Certain substances are successful in preventing bed-wetting, while others can control unwanted muscle contractions or spasms.
- Anticholinergics are bronchodilators which means they work to prevent the tightening of certain muscles. For bladder spasms, anticholinergics help reduce involuntary bladder contractions. Medications in this class include propantheline, oxybutinine, tolterodine tartrate, dariphenacin, trospium, and solifenacin succinate. All of these medications may cause dry mouth and other side effects, including constipation, blurred vision, heart rate irregularities, and drowsiness.
- Tricyclic antidepressants may be used in certain cases because they have anticholinergic aspects. The most commonly prescribed include imipramine hydrochloride and doxepin. These substances help control smooth muscle tissue in the bladder.
- Alpha blockers Alpha blockers may be prescribed to reduce the symptoms of bladder overactivity by decreasing bladder contractions and relaxing muscles. Common substances are prazosin and phenoxybenzamine
Step 2. Work with your doctor to prevent drug interactions
All drugs have side effects and many can interact with other drugs. Drug interactions can have serious effects in most cases.
In collaboration with your doctor, your current medication regimen will be taken into account because your doctor will carefully consider adding new substances that can help manage your bladder spasms
Step 3. Consult with your doctor before trying alternative and herbal therapies
Use with care. There is no or little evidence to support the effectiveness of using herbal and alternative healers to treat bladder spasms. Always consult your doctor before using herbal and alternative therapies as they can cause problems with your prescription medications and your current medical condition.
- Several human studies have been conducted to measure the effectiveness of alternative and herbal remedies to help control bladder problems, including spasms.
- There is a small amount of evidence for Japanese and Chinese medicinal herbs, but the results are still very limited and insufficient to support recommendations for their use in this problem.
Step 4. Consider acupuncture
Some studies suggest that acupuncture specifically for the bladder can relieve overactive bladder and spasms. Ask your doctor to recommend a licensed acupuncturist with knowledge of bladder problems.
- Most states in the United States require acupuncturists to have a practice license issued by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). With a licensed acupuncturist, you can be assured that you are receiving proper treatment.
- Always inform your doctor of alternative therapies you are trying. This way, all of your health care workers can work with each other to provide the best possible care for you.
Step 5. Ask your doctor about electrical stimulation devices
Electrical stimulation devices, similar to TENS devices, can sometimes be used to help stimulate nerves or muscles on a regular basis to prevent sudden spasms. Usually this form of therapy is not considered the first treatment option.
- Many of these devices require minor surgery to implant the actual device and to find the correct position for the electrodes.
- This type of intervention is most often used to control bladder problems that may be directly or indirectly related to spasms. Common use of electrical stimulation devices is for conditions such as overactive bladder syndrome, stress incontinence, and urinary urge incontinence.
Step 6. Consider surgery
The surgical procedure options to control your bladder spasms or related bladder problems are based on the root cause of the problem. Your doctor can give you the best advice about the risks and benefits of continuing with a surgical procedure.
Surgical intervention for bladder spasms is only recommended for those with overactive detrusor muscle, meaning episodes of severe and painful bladder spasm, and for those who are not changing to other treatment options
Part 4 of 4: Identifying the Causes of Bladder Spasms
Step 1. Consider possible muscle weakness
The bladder is controlled by several muscle groups. These groups include the sphincter muscles, the abdominal wall muscles, and an accessory muscle that is part of the bladder itself. The most common cause behind bladder spasms is the detrusor smooth muscle, which is the main muscle that makes up the bladder wall.
- The detrusor muscle consists of smooth muscle fibers that are part of the bladder wall. The detrusor muscle contracts, along with the abdominal wall muscles, to empty the contents of the bladder into the urethra or urinary tract. However, all muscle groups are involved in emptying the bladder and may be part of the problem. So consult a doctor to get a complete diagnosis.
- The sphincter muscle tightens the bladder opening to prevent urine from leaking out. After the brain signals to the muscles that it is time for urine to be released from the bladder, the sphincter muscles relax, allowing urine to flow out through the urethra.
- The urethra is the tube that connects the bladder to the outside.
- The abdominal wall muscles are relaxed when the bladder is empty and as the bladder gradually fills with urine. The abdominal wall muscles gently expand as the bladder expands.
- The abdominal wall muscles and sphincter muscles work together to control the bladder. When the brain says it's time to release urine, the abdominal walls close, or tighten, and put pressure on the bladder to push urine into the urethra.
- The muscles and nervous system work together to communicate effectively with the brain and provide facultative control over bladder emptying. Problems with any of the muscles or nerves involved can contribute to bladder spasms.
Step 2. Be aware of possible nerve damage that can cause bladder spasms
The nerves that form in the bladder area are part of a complex communication pathway that sends messages to, and receives messages from, the brain.
- Nerves that are part of the bladder and abdominal wall areas tell the brain when the bladder is full and needs to be emptied.
- This message translates as an urge to let you know that it is time for the urine stored in the bladder to be released.
- Damaged nerves can send signals to the muscles to close at the wrong time and cause spasms.
- Certain medical conditions, which interfere with nerve signals that involve bladder contractions, include diabetes, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.
- Other conditions that cause nerve damage are back surgery, pelvic problems or surgery, back disorders such as herniated discs (herniated discs), and exposure to radiation.
Step 3. Cure the infection
Bladder or kidney infections can cause sudden muscle spasms. The irritation from the infection signals the bladder muscles to constrict or contract, causing spasm. Urinary tract infections are temporary. Bladder control problems will resolve if the infection is treated properly.
- If you think you may have a bladder or kidney infection, seek medical attention as soon as possible to get a prescription for an appropriate antibiotic to treat the infection.
- Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include a strong and frequent urge to urinate, passing urine in small amounts, burning or pain when urinating, cloudy, dark, or visible urine in the urine, urine that has a strong odor, and pelvic pain.
Step 4. Review your medication with your doctor
Certain medications can cause bladder spasms. Talk to your doctor about any medications you take for other conditions that might be contributing to your bladder spasms.
- Not all treatments cause problems. Even a drug that can cause problems in one person may not necessarily cause the same thing in another.
- Do not stop or change any of your medications. Talk to your doctor about your bladder spasms and the medications you are currently taking.
- If you are taking medications that may be contributing to bladder spasms, an adjustment in your dose under the direction of your doctor may be helpful, while keeping your medical condition under control.
- Examples of medications that can cause bladder control problems include prescription medications to help you relax, manage anxiety symptoms, help you sleep at night, muscle relaxants, diuretics or medications used to treat nerve damage including conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Step 5. Use the appropriate catheter for your condition
In many cases, the use of a catheter that is inserted by a healthcare professional or that can be inserted yourself, can cause bladder spasms.
- Your body recognizes the catheter as a foreign object and contracts or spasms in an attempt to get rid of it.
- Talk to the healthcare professional who helps you choose the most comfortable catheter, the right size, and one made of a material that may be less irritating.
Step 6. Realize that there may be more than one cause
In certain cases, there may be more than one cause contributing to your bladder spasms.
- For example, your muscles may weaken or your nerves may be slightly damaged, but you have no problem with bladder spasms. Being overweight or consuming caffeinated beverages, combined with weakened muscles or damaged nerves, may be enough to give you bladder spasms.
- Recognizing that several factors can cause bladder spasms, it will help you to find a way out of this problem by adopting different approaches to therapy.