Symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in your urine, frequent urination, and painful urination. Bloating isn’t a common symptom but can happen in some instances.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 82,290 new diagnoses of bladder cancer in the United States in 2023.

Several potential symptoms can signal the presence of bladder cancer. While bloating isn’t a common symptom of bladder cancer, it can happen in some cases. Many other health conditions can also cause bloating.

This article takes a look at all the symptoms of bladder cancer and what might cause bloating in bladder cancer.

Find out more about bladder cancer here.

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in your urine. This may be enough blood to change the color of your urine. On the other hand, the amount of blood may be small, and a doctor only detects it on a urine test during a routine physical.

Other common symptoms of bladder cancer include:

Symptoms of more advanced bladder cancer

Some symptoms that signal more advanced bladder cancer are:

Urinary retention, which is when urine cannot properly leave your body, can lead to bloating. It can happen if a tumor is physically blocking the exit of urine or may occur due to the effects of treatment, such as surgery or chemotherapy.

Another situation where bladder cancer can lead to bloating is if the cancer or its treatment affects other organs and tissues in your abdomen.

The liver is one of the most common sites where bladder cancer spreads (metastasis). It’s also possible for the cancer to spread to other areas of your abdomen, such as:

  • other parts of your urinary tract
  • the digestive tract
  • reproductive tissues

Should your bladder cancer spread to any of these areas, you may begin to experience bloating. This may be due to fluid collecting in your abdomen (ascites) or to digestive disturbances.

Bloating can also be a symptom of ileus, which is a slowing of your bowels. Ileus is a potential side effect after surgery.

Do you gain weight with bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer isn’t typically associated with weight gain. However, weight increases can happen if you’re experiencing fluid retention or ascites due to advanced cancer.

Bladder cancer is more commonly associated with weight loss. This can be due to the effects of the cancer itself but is also often due to the side effects of cancer treatment, which can cause reduced appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Weight loss can also happen due to something called cachexia. This is a syndrome in which your body breaks down too much muscle tissue, with or without the loss of fat.

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Bloating can occur in a variety of cancers. Some examples of cancers that may be associated with bloating include:

Many causes of bloating are related to your digestive tract. Sometimes, bloating may be caused simply by overeating or by eating certain types of foods, such as those high in fiber.

Bloating that may be related to an issue with the digestive tract can be caused by:

Other potential causes of bloating include:

Many times, bloating isn’t due to a serious health condition. However, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor if you find that you’re experiencing bloating that’s persistent, frequent, or happens with other symptoms.

Bloating isn’t a common bladder cancer symptom. However, it can happen in some situations, such as due to urinary retention, the spread of the cancer, or certain cancer treatments.

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in your urine. Other common symptoms may include frequent or urgent urination, painful urination, and weak urine stream.

Bloating can also happen due to other cancers or health conditions. If you’re experiencing bloating that recurs, is persistent, or happens with other new or concerning symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about it.