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Urinary Disorders: Treatment Overview


Many people experience some type of urinary disorder in their lifetime. Urinary disorders affect the urinary tract and can range from mild to severe. They can sometimes lead to further complications but luckily, most urinary disorders are treatable. Read on to learn more about treatment options for urinary disorders.

Reviewed by the Office of Clinical Evaluation and Policy (OCEP), Evernorth

Urinary disorders are any diseases or conditions that affect the urinary tract. The main urinary disorders are urinary tract infections, kidney stones and painful bladder syndrome. These disorders can cause problems in the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, ureter and bladder. People who have trouble urinating (urinary retention), leakage of urine (incontinence) or pain while urinating may be experiencing a urinary disorder.

Urinary disorders can range in severity from mild to severe. In serious cases, urinary disorders can lead to permanent damage to the urinary tract and other complications. Despite their potential severity, urinary disorders are treatable. Treatment for urinary disorders includes medication and non-medication treatments.

Continue reading to learn more about some of the main urinary disorders and available treatment options.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can develop when bacteria, usually from the rectum or skin, enter the urinary tract. Infections of the urinary tract typically occur in the lower tract, which is made up of the bladder and urethra. However, in severe cases, bacteria can travel from the bladder to the kidneys. Cystitis is an infection of the bladder; urethritis is an infection of the urethra, and pyelonephritis is an infection of the kidneys.

Symptoms of urinary tract infections may include pain while urinating, discomfort around the abdomen, and frequent urination. Severe UTIs can cause back pain, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.

UTI treatments

UTI treatments will vary and depend on the severity of the infection. Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment for infections caused by bacteria. A healthcare provider may run tests to pinpoint the exact cause of the infection and adjust treatment accordingly. In addition to antibiotics, a healthcare provider may also recommend staying hydrated and using a hot compress for pain as needed.

Kidney stones

As the name suggests, kidney stones are pebble-like objects that can form in the kidney from minerals and acid salts. Kidney stones are usually made up of calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite or cystine. While small stones can be passed through the urine, larger stones may obstruct the urinary tract and cause pain. Other symptoms of kidney stones may include a frequent need to urinate, pain while urinating, cloudy urine, fever and chills.

Kidney stone treatments

The treatment for kidney stones can vary depending on the type and severity of the kidney stone. For large kidney stones, a urologist can perform shock wave lithotripsy or surgical procedures to break apart the kidney stone. If you’re at risk of experiencing kidney stones often, your healthcare provider may recommend drinking plenty of fluids each day or taking a medication, such as allopurinol or potassium citrate.

Painful bladder syndrome

Also known as interstitial cystitis (IC), painful bladder syndrome is a chronic urinary disorder. The exact causes of IC are unknown, but the disorder may be triggered by inflammatory conditions in other parts of the body. Other problems may trigger IC flare-ups, including allergies, stress, UTIs, menstrual cycles, tight clothing, certain medications, and even certain foods, such as alcohol, chocolate and caffeinated beverages. Symptoms of IC may include discomfort, tenderness, or pressure in the pelvic region, severe bladder pain and increased urinary urgency or frequency.

Painful bladder syndrome treatments

The most common way to treat IC is to implement lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, watching your diet and reducing stress may help prevent the triggers that cause IC symptoms. By monitoring what triggers IC symptoms, you can be more aware of how to prevent flare-ups.

A healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications to help relieve mild IC pain. OTC pain medications include acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Other treatments for IC include bowel training, bladder stretching, physical therapy and surgery.

Get the treatment you need

Always consult with a healthcare provider on the best treatment option for you. Several urinary disorders with varying symptoms can impact your quality of life. Depending on your overall condition, your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle changes, surgery, medications or a combination of treatments.


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