The urinary bladder is an organ in the body that plays a crucial role in the urinary system. It is a muscular sac located in the lower abdomen that collects and stores urine produced by the kidneys until it is ready to be expelled from the body.
The bladder is made up of smooth muscle that is controlled by the nervous system. When the bladder is full, the muscles contract to expel the urine through the urethra and out of the body. This process is controlled by the brain and can be voluntarily controlled.
Various conditions can affect the bladder and its function, including urinary tract infections, bladder cancer, bladder stones, and incontinence (unintentional leaking of urine). Incontinence can be related to weakness of the pelvic floor muscles that hold on to urine (stress incontinence), or to overactivity of the bladder muscle (urge incontinence). Nocturia (the need to get up at night) can be particularly bothersome for some people, as it can interfere with sleep.
Symptoms of bladder conditions can include pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen or during urination, frequent urination, blood in the urine, or difficulty starting or stopping urination.