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What Causes Irritable Bladder?

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Irritable bladder (not to be confused with irritable bowel) is a condition where your bladder makes you want to go to the toilet all the time, even if you don’t pee much. It’s seriously annoying, especially when you’re trying to work or enjoy a social occasion. 

But what actually causes the condition? That’s what’s often so confusing. Many times, it seems to come out of nowhere. 

Fortunately, this post is here to help. We look at some of the determinants of irritable bladder and what you can do, if anything, to reduce your risk. 


One of the main causes of irritable bladder is, strangely, constipation. While constipation is something that affects the colon, it can have knock-on effects elsewhere. 

Constipation is a problem for the bladder when the rectum becomes full. If you can’t go to the toilet, it can bulge out, putting pressure on the backside of the bladder. 

You may notice this issue is worse in the mornings than in the evenings. That’s because most people open their bowels earlier in the day (though not always). 

To correct this, consider adding more fibre to your diet. Include more vegetables, beans and whole grains and wait a week or so to see if your efforts work. 

Urinary Tract Infections

Irritable bladder can also result from urinary tract infections (UTIs). These often creep up on you when you least expect it, leading to fever and incessant irritation and pain. 

If you think you have a UTI and it doesn’t resolve itself after 48 hours, go to your doctor. They can prescribe antibiotics that will clear it up. 

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones can be another cause of bladder irritation. These cause pain when they come into contact with the organ’s inner surface or try to pass through the tubes that connect to it. 

Getting rid of bladder stones often requires going on medication or getting doctors to break the offending stones manually and remove them. 

Weakened Pelvic Floor Muscles

Weakened pelvic floor muscles are another cause of irritable bladder and often occur with age or pregnancy. The muscles in the groyne area can’t tighten enough to hold pee in the bladder, leading to leaking and the need for incontinence pants

Some specialists recommend performing pelvic floor muscle exercises daily to strengthen this tissue. Training allows bladders to recover their original robustness. 

Nervous System Conditions

Some people with neurological conditions can also experience episodes of irritable bladder. People who’ve had strokes or are living with Parkinson’s disease often have damage to the nerves in the bladder, leading to symptoms

For solutions, it’s best to go to the doctor and follow their advice. 


Finally, some people can experience an irritable bladder because of taking certain medications. These can cause a sensation of itching or discomfort. 

For example, kidney disease patients must often use diuretics. These water pills increase the throughput of urine through the bladder, which can cause irritation in some people. 

Decongestants can have a similar effect and cause the bladder to become overactive. 

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