women bladder cross-section

Urinary Disorders


Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What are urinary disorders?

The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Your kidneys filter your blood, creating urine, which travels through the ureters to the bladder, where it is stored. When the appropriate time comes, the muscles of your bladder contract and urine exits your body through your urethra. Urinary disorders include any diseases, disorders or conditions that affect your kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra, or that affect their function.

Examples of urinary disorders include cancers of the urinary tract, incontinence (inability to control urine flow), interstitial cystitis, kidney stones, kidney failure, and urinary tract infections. Common symptoms of urinary disorders include abdominal, pelvic, or lower back pain or discomfort; blood in the urine; changes in the urine; difficulty producing urine; fever and chills; frequent urination; leaking of urine; and urgent need to urinate. Some urinary disorders, such as infections, may develop quickly, while others, such as cancer, develop more slowly.

Urinary disorders can be caused by cancer, conditions affecting the structures near the urinary tract, infection, inflammation, injury, nervous system diseases, scarring, and urine crystallization. Treatment of urinary disorders involves identifying and treating the cause and symptoms. Some examples of possible treatments include self-care measures, medications to relieve pain, medications to relax the bladder, antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.

Urinary disorders can have serious, even life-threatening, complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as abdominal, pelvic, or lower back pain that can be severe; high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit); not producing urine; or severe nausea and vomiting.

Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of a urinary disorder or are being treated for a urinary disorder but symptoms recur or are persistent.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Nov 29, 2016

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Medical References

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