Bladder Pain

Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Bladder pain treatment

Because bladder pain can be caused by a number of different conditions, there is no one treatment that will work to manage all signs and symptoms. You may need to try different treatments or combinations of treatments in order to find one that works best for you.

Bladder pain syndrome treatment

Treating27 BPS will likely involve talking to your healthcare provider and trying out different recommended treatments until you find what works best to relieve your symptoms.

Many treatments are available for interstitial cystitis, including:

  • Oral medication: Certain medications can help relieve the signs and symptoms of BPS.

Over-the-counter NSAID painkillers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, can help relieve mild bladder pain.

Pentosan polysulfate sodium (generic Elmiron) is approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating interstitial cystitis in particular. It is unknown exactly how this medication works to treat pain and urinary frequency; it is thought that it may help restore the inner surfaces of the bladder, protecting its walls from irritating substances.

Tricyclic antidepressants, including amitriptyline (generic Elavil) and imipramine (generic Tofranil), can help relax the bladder and block pain.

Antihistamine allergy medications like loratadine (generic Claritin) can help reduce urinary frequency and urgency and improve other symptoms.

  • Medication administered through bladder installation: Bladder installation involves using a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to administer the medication directly into the bladder. This medication, dimethyl sulfoxide (Rimso-50), stays in the bladder for about 15 minutes before you expel it through urination.
  • Nerve stimulation: Nerve stimulation can be used to help relieve the signs and symptoms of BPS.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) involves sending mild electrical impulses through the lower back or just above the pubic area. This therapy helps relieve pelvic pain and can reduce the frequency of urination, increase blood flow to the bladder, and strengthen the muscles that control the bladder.

Sacral nerve stimulation involves stimulating the nerves that serve as the primary link between the spinal cord and the nerves in the bladder (sacral nerves). This therapy involves sending electrical impulses to the bladder through a thin wire placed near the sacral nerves. This treatment does not relieve pain but can help reduce the urinary urgency and frequency associated with BPS.

  • Bladder distention: Bladder distention involves stretching the bladder by filling it with water. Some people whose symptoms temporarily improve after undergoing bladder distention during a cystoscopy may have the procedure repeated.
  • Surgery: Because of the risk of complications, surgery is rarely used to treat BPS. It is generally only used in patients with severe pain or very low bladder capacities. Some surgical options include fulguration or resection (removing ulcers in the bladder) and bladder augmentation (increasing bladder capacity by adding extra tissue taken from an intestine).

Bladder pain medication

Your provider may prescribe the following medications for bladder pain:

May be prescribed

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Bladder stones prevention and treatment

Bladder stones generally result from underlying health conditions that are hard to prevent. However, you may be able to decrease28 your risk of developing bladder stones by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids: Drinking lots of fluids (particularly water) can dilute the concentration of minerals in your urine, helping to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Staying hydrated also increases your urine production, which can make it easier to pass small bladder stones naturally.
  • Talking to your healthcare provider: Alerting your provider to any signs or symptoms can help ensure the early diagnosis of any underlying conditions, such as an enlarged prostate, which may decrease your chances of bladder stones.

These approaches may not work for everyone. While drinking lots of fluids can help pass bladder stones, it won’t always help, as these stones often form as a result of being unable to empty the bladder completely.

Generally, most bladder stones need to be removed manually. This can be done in one of two ways:

  • Breaking stones apart: In this procedure, your provider inserts a thin tube with a camera at its end into the bladder to see inside the organ. Using a laser, ultrasound, or another device, the stone is broken up into small pieces and flushed from the bladder.
  • Surgical removal: Surgical removal is generally used when bladder stones are too large or difficult to break up with other methods. In the case of bladder stones caused by an obstruction or an enlarged prostate, these conditions are treated at the same time as your stones, usually with surgery.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.