An enlarged bladder is one that has become larger than usual. Typically, the bladder walls become thicker and then grow because they are overstretched. This condition is also known as “bladder hypertrophy.”

The bladder is a sac inside our bodies that holds our urine before it’s excreted.

An enlarged bladder can be present from birth or it can occur due to an obstruction in the bladder, the kidneys, or the connecting ureters.

An enlarged bladder presents with symptoms that can be similar to other conditions. If you display any of the following symptoms, your doctor will likely order an ultrasound to determine the cause of your symptoms.

  • difficulty urinating
  • a constant feeling that your bladder is full
  • a slow stream of urine
  • abdominal pain
  • urinary incontinence
  • waking in the night to urinate

Other symptoms could be present depending on the cause of the enlarged bladder. These could include pelvic pain and blood in the urine.

There are many possible causes of an enlarged bladder. One of the most common causes is an obstruction of the urinary system.

When there is an obstruction, the bladder has to work hard to get the urine past the obstruction. This can lead to a loss of elasticity in the bladder walls. Common obstructions are kidney stones and tumors. Prompt recognition of these conditions can prevent your bladder from becoming enlarged.

Some people have trouble urinating. They may produce a large volume of urine but never fully empty their bladders. This prevents the bladder from returning to its usual size and leaves it stretched out.

Some babies are born with enlarged bladders, although they may not present symptoms until later in life. If a child has an enlarged bladder but does not have any negative consequences, simply monitoring them closely is an appropriate course of action.

People who have both obesity and diabetes may be more likely to develop enlarged bladders.

Some neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and paralysis, can prevent you from being able to empty your bladder regularly enough.

Treatment aims to remove the underlying cause of the enlarged bladder. This prevents your bladder from further stretching.

Prompt diagnosis is important because there is no way to repair the muscles of the bladder once they have been overstretched. Treating the cause will prevent further bladder damage and could mean that your symptoms remain mild.

The treatment of enlarged bladders may involve a surgery called reduction cystoplasty, which aims to reduce bladder capacity to a typical range through surgical adjustments of the bladder’s structure.

If the enlarged bladder is caused by an obstruction, then surgery to remove the blockage is usually an option. The type of blockage as well as the size will determine the method used by your surgeon.

The most common complication of an enlarged bladder is that your bladder retains urine for longer than it should. This can mean the urine flows back to your kidneys via the ureters. This can lead to kidney damage.

If you develop severe kidney damage as a result of your enlarged bladder, you may need dialysis or a transplant.

Pregnancy can affect bladder control, even with a normal-size bladder. Pregnant people with enlarged bladders usually find that their bladder control is affected to a greater severity than those without.

The symptoms of an enlarged bladder can be frustrating, but the condition on its own is not a serious health concern.

Once your bladder has enlarged, it is unlikely to return to its former state. However, you can manage the symptoms to improve your well-being.

It’s important that you see your doctor as soon as possible if you develop any trouble with urination.

Most causes of an enlarged bladder will show up with other symptoms before your bladder becomes enlarged.

If these conditions are diagnosed promptly, then it’s possible to prevent an enlarged bladder, as well as more serious complications such as kidney damage.