What are bladder spasms, and how can I treat them?

bladder spasms
4 September 2023

What are bladder spasms, and how can I treat them?

Bladder spasms can bring about unexpected hurdles in our daily lives, and are much more than mere inconveniences. They can greatly impact our quality of life, and dictate our schedules, activities, and even our social interactions.

Sudden urges to urinate, as well as chronic pelvic pain, may point to underlying conditions like interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome. So, this guide is here to help you understand your bladder spasms, their possible causes, and ways to manage them.

In this Incontinence Shop blog post, we'll discuss:

  • What is a bladder spasm?
  • Top causes of bladder spasms
  • Treatment options for bladder spasms

What is a bladder spasm?

A bladder spasm is a medical condition that can disrupt everyday life and overall quality of life. In its simplest terms, a bladder spasm is an involuntary contraction or tightening of the bladder muscle. This tightening can lead to increased bladder pressures, creating an often overwhelming urge to use the bathroom.

What does a bladder spasm feel like?

There are a range of common symptoms associated with bladder spasms, from stomach cramps to a burning pain in the pelvic area.

In some cases, one of the symptoms of bladder spasms is urinary incontinence, where they lose control of their bladder entirely. Many describe it as a strong, abrupt urge to wee, even if they've just emptied their bladder.

Unfortunately, these sudden urges for the bathroom can reduce quality of life, and turn routine activities or special outings into something a little more stressful.

It isn't just the physical sensation, but the anticipation and anxiety about when the next spasm might occur. This can increase the chronic pain and discomfort associated with bladder spasms.

What are the common causes of bladder spasms?

While the average person might take a routine trip to the bathroom for granted, those dealing with bladder pain and spasms face a unique set of challenges.

So, what lies beneath the surface of these sudden urges and bladder pain?

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

UTIs frequently come about in relation to bladder health. They occur when bacteria gets into the urinary tract, resulting in unpleasant symptoms and potentially worsening issues related to bladder cramps and spasms.

For many people with bladder pain, urinary tract infections are a surprising cause. The signs of a UTI can be varied, including:

  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Discoloured or cloudy urine
  • Strong odour from urine
  • Pelvic pain

These aren't just discomforts, but signs of infection that need attention and management. UTIs are known for prompting bladder spasms. By irritating the bladder lining, it causes the muscle to spasm and create a sudden urge to urinate. This can even sometimes result in involuntary leakage of urine.

Overactive bladder

An overactive bladder is one that essentially has a mind of its own. It decides it wants to empty, even if you've just been to the bathroom.

Bladder cramps tend to create this urgency to go, and this often links back to bladder spasms. Simply put, people with bladder pain often feel these urges because of the spasms caused by an overactive bladder.

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a complex medical condition relating to persistent bladder irritation, bladder control issues, and even some recurrent pelvic pain.

The exact cause of IC isn't fully known, but it could be related to damage to the bladder lining that allows irritants in the urine to get into the bladder wall. Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction or some immune system reactions may also play a pivotal role.

People with IC might also face bladder leakage and an inability to hold a normal amount of urine, often thanks to misfired nerve signals that govern bladder function.

How can I treat bladder spasms?

Bladder spasms can be an unwelcome intrusion that flips our comfortable daily routines upside down. The good news? There are ways we can regain control and bring us back to a more balanced life.


Exercise - specifically pelvic floor exercises - are a major way of treating bladder cramps and spasms.

Also known as Kegel exercises, these involve tightening, holding, and then relaxing the muscles used to control urine flow. This strengthens the muscles that control the flow of urine and increases your ability to hold it in when those sudden urges hit.

Lifestyle changes

Changing our daily habits doesn't just address symptoms of bladder spasms, but helps our overall well-being.

Mindful changes like adjusting our fluid intake can help. While it might seem illogical to drink more when you're trying to control your bladder, maintaining good levels of hydration is crucial in making sure your urine isn't too concentrated, potentially irritating the bladder further.

Then you've got dietary changes: certain substances like caffeine, alcohol, and even spicy foods can be hidden culprits of bladder spasms. Keep a food diary to help pinpoint any links between your dietary choices and the onset of spasms.

Bladder training, too, offers a promising way to regain control over your bladder. By establishing a schedule for when to 'go' and gradually increasing the intervals between bathroom visits, you help the bladder adjust to urges.

Incontinence products

If you want a layer of protection all the while, then incontinence products can lend a helping hand.

Absorbent pads, for example, are your discreet pal in combating leakage.

Light, unassuming, yet efficient, incontinence pads stick to your underwear and trap any unexpected leaks throughout the day. They provide much-needed security without making themselves known - an excellent choice if you're looking for low-profile protection.

Then there is the more robust protection of protective underwear. Familiar and cosy against your skin, this specialized underwear defends against surprise leaks thanks to a highly absorbent core.

Tackle bladder spasms with confidence

Bladder spasms can feel overwhelming without the right support, but by understanding the causes and treatments, you have a roadmap to better bladder health. While everyone's journey is unique and armed with the right tools and info, you can still lead a comfortable, active life.

If you're struggling with bladder spasms and are looking for cost-effective solutions, then look no further than Incontinence Shop.

Whether dealing with the sudden urge of urinary incontinence or episodes of faecal incontinence, our incontinence pads and pants offer reliable protection that minimizes discomfort and maximizes discretion.

What's more, if you subscribe to your incontinence product of choice, then you can enjoy 10% off every order as well as convenient doorstep delivery.