Our team of urologists is here to provide treatment for all feminine urologic conditions, such as urinary tract infections, uterine prolapse, cancer, and many others.

Bladder Conditions in Women

Women can experience a number of bladder conditions. It’s important to understand that these conditions may affect women differently as compared to men due to their difference in anatomy.

Overactive Bladder

When a patient has an overactive bladder, their bladder storage function is affected, which leads to frequent urination in women. This quick urge to urinate can lead to accidental urination, or incontinence.

Some of the symptoms related to an overactive bladder are urinating eight or more times in a 24-hour period. The urge to urinate is difficult to manage, sometimes to the point of bladder leakage. Waking up more than two times a night to urinate is another symptom of an overactive bladder.

Although this can greatly influence your social life, there are treatment options available to control overactive bladder. A urologist can prescribe medications to relax the bladder and reduce the urge to urinate. The following behavioral interventions can help a patient manage an overactive bladder with no side effects:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises
  • Double voiding
  • Limiting fluid consumption
  • Scheduling trips to the restroom
  • Using absorbent pads
  • Training your bladder
  • Using a catheter occasionally

Urinary Retention

Urinary retention is when a patient cannot empty their bladder completely, even though it’s full. Although this condition is more common in men, women can experience this.

This condition is caused by a blockage in the urinary tract, a weak bladder muscle, or nerve issue problems that affect communication between the brain and the bladder. Damaged nerves can be caused from vaginal childbirth, diabetes, spinal cord or brain infections or injuries, stroke, pelvic injury or trauma, or multiple sclerosis. Nerve signals to the bladder and prostate can also be damaged by certain medications that treat allergies, stomach cramps, urinary incontinence, muscle spasms, anxiety and depression, and other conditions.

The following are the two types of urinary retention with their respective symptoms:

  • Acute urinary retention –
  • Painful urge to urinate
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Inability to urinate
  • Lower abdomen bloating
  • Chronic urinary retention –
  • Urinating eight or more times a day
  • Weak or sporadic urine stream
  • Urge to urinate with no results
  • Discomfort in the urinary tract and abdomen
  • Trouble beginning a urine stream

Patients with acute urinary retention should seek immediate medical attention. Patients with chronic urinary retention, even though they may not be experiencing any symptoms, may face increasingly serious complications the longer they go without treatment. An assortment of tests can include a CT scan, a physical exam, a post-void residual measurement, and other imaging tests.

Treatment for urinary retention is based on its type, cause, and severity. A urologist will administer one of the following treatments for urinary retention:

  • Urethral dilation
  • Bladder drainage
  • Urethral stents
  • Surgery
  • Prostate medications

Bladder Cancer

To learn more about bladder cancer, click here.

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones are mineral masses that form in a patient’s bladder. Stones form when urine becomes concentrated, which crystalizes the minerals found in urine. Some bladder stones can pass on their own, but stones that cannot pass can cause further complications such as infections. Bladder stones can form from a variety of conditions, like damaged nerves, bladder inflammation, bladder catheters, and kidney stones.

Symptoms of bladder stones can develop if the stones begin to irritate the lining of the bladder or block urine flow. Frequent urination in women is one of the most common symptoms. Patients may also experience pain in the lower abdominal, difficulty urinating, interrupted urine flow, and blood in the urine.

A urologist will perform a physical exam, CT scan, urinalysis, ultrasound, and/or an X-ray to determine whether the patient has bladder stones. Upon diagnosis of bladder stones, a urologist will determine a treatment plan based on the size of the bladder stone. If it is small, a urologist will recommend drinking lots of water to help it pass. Generally, a urologist will remove the bladder stone using one of two procedures:

  • Cystolitholapaxy – A urologist will insert a small tube with a camera through the patient’s urethra and into the bladder to see the stone. A laser is then used to break the bladder stone apart, and the pieces are flushed from the bladder.
  • Surgery – This treatment option is performed when the bladder stone is too large to break up. A urologist will make an incision in the bladder to remove the stone directly.


To learn more about cystocele, also known as a prolapsed bladder, click here.


Academic Urology and Urogynecology of Arizona treats the wide array of bladder conditions women patients may experience. The urologists at AUUA have the knowledge and experience needed to treat every condition in the best way possible. Call us to learn more about the bladder and other urologic conditions we treat, or to schedule an appointment.