Bladder Problems and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is more than just "a pain thing." While pain is certainly one of its' defining symptoms, a host of other issues accompany fibromyalgia syndrome. Many patients with fibromyalgia, especially women, suffer with pelvic complaints and bladder problems.
The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) says 26% of fibromyalgia patients experience bladder problems that may include urinary frequency, incontinence, urgency and interstitial cystitis. On a scale of one to ten for symptom severity, NFA says patients rate these symptoms about a 2.5, with 10 being most severe.
- Urinary frequency means a need to urinate more often than usual. Some fibromyalgia patients complain of having to urinate as often as every twenty minutes.
- Incontinence means inability to stop yourself from urinating before you reach the bathroom.
- Urgency means feeling a sudden, intense need to go.
- Interstitial Cystitis is characterized by a range of symptoms from mild discomfort, pressure, and tenderness, to intense bladder and pelvic pain. It is sometimes called Painful Bladder Syndrome.
It's unclear what causes fibromyalgia, but experts believe it may be due to overactive nerves that send pain signals to multiple sites in the body. Some of these sites are in the bladder. The bladder becomes inflamed and irritated, which causes bladder spasms, pain and an urge to urinate.
What can you do about it? First, see your doctor to make sure your bladder pain is not caused by an infection. Urinary tract infections are easily diagnosed through a lab test called urinalysis and easily treated with antibiotics. Untreated urinary tract infections can lead to serious kidney infections.
If a urinalysis indicates no sign of infection ask your doctor about other diagnostic tests to identify the source of your bladder pain. Interstitial cystitis is often the diagnosis made when everything else has been ruled out.
There's no cure for interstitial cystitis at this time but many treatments and medications are available to relax bladder spasms, reduce pain and urgency.
How to Manage Your Symptoms
Ask your doctor about bladder retraining (a type of physical therapy that teaches your bladder to empty on a set schedule), which is effective for many patients.
- Urinate frequently.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine, citrus juices and other beverages that irritate the bladder.
- Wear incontinence protection pads for "just in case" emergencies.
Many patients with fibromyalgia find attending support group meetings helps them feel less isolated and alone with their symptoms. Discovering you're not the only one suffering with bladder problems may be a big relief.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
What I need to know about
Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome
National Fibromyalgia Association
Spectrum of Symptoms
Thursday, November 1, 2007
By: Sandy Bennett
NFA Study Reveals Top Reasons for Discomfort
National Fibromyalgia Association
Interstitial Cystitis and FM - Separate but overlapping
By Chris Cunningham
National Institutes of Health
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.