Brisbane Urology Clinic

Urinary Bladder

The urinary bladder is a musculo membranous sac which acts as a reservoir for the urine. It's size, position, and relations vary according to the amount of fluid it contains. It receives urine from the kidneys through the ureters and is dispensed from the bladder through the Urethra.

When the bladder is moderately full it contains about 0.5 litres and adopts an oval form. The lengthwise diameter of the oval urinary bladder measures about 12 cm. and is directed upward and forward. The bladder capacity decreases with old age.

Nerves in the bladder tell you when it is time to urinate (empty your bladder). As the bladder first fills with urine, you may notice a feeling that you need to urinate. The sensation to urinate becomes stronger as the bladder continues to fill and reaches its limit. At that point, nerves from the bladder send a message to the brain that the bladder is full, and your urge to empty your bladder intensifies.

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Below are some common conditions, diagnostics and treatments in relation to the Urinary Bladder. Some of topics below are discussed elsewhere; the following links will direct you to the listed sections.

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC), one of the chronic pelvic pain disorders, is a condition resulting in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region.

In Interstitial Cystitis, the bladder wall may be irritated and become scarred or stiff. Some people with IC find that their bladders cannot hold much urine, which increases the frequency of urination. Frequency, however, is not always specifically related to bladder size; many people with severe frequency have normal bladder capacity. People with severe cases of IC may urinate as many as 40 to 50 times a day.

Also, people with IC often experience pain during sexual intercourse. IC is far more common in women than in men.


The definite cause of IC is not known, one theory being studied is that IC is an autoimmune response following a bladder infection.

Diagnostic tests that help identify other conditions include urinalysis, urine culture, cystoscopy, biopsy of the bladder wall, distension of the bladder under anaesthesia, urine cytology, and, laboratory examination of prostate secretions in men.


Because the causes of Interstitial Cystitis are unknown, current treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms. Most people are helped for variable periods by one or combination of treatments. As researchers learn more about Interstitial Cystitis, the list of potential treatments will change, so patients should discuss their options with a doctor.