The urinary bladder collects and stores the urine. Learn here how this works and what problems the bladder can cause.


The bladder (Vesica urinaria) is an elastic, muscular hollow organ. It collects and stores the urine from the ureters until emptying via the urethra. Urinary urgency can be felt from a certain filling state of the bladder. Function and position of their sphincter muscles are responsible for the fact that the constantly formed urine can be emptied controlled. Read more about the function of the bladder and what problems it can cause.

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  • What is the bladder?

  • What is the function of the bladder?

  • Where is the bladder?

  • What problems can the bladder cause?

What is the bladder?

The bladder, colloquially abbreviated to "bladder", is a distensible hollow organ in which urine is temporarily stored. It is purposely emptied from time to time (micturition). The human bladder has a maximum capacity of 900 to 1500 milliliters. Its elasticity changes its shape from spherical to pear-shaped with increasing filling.

Anatomy: bladder

The human bladder is divided into three sections. A distinction is made at the top of the bladder vertex (apex), in the middle the bladder (corpus) and below the base of the bladder (fundus). The skin of the bladder is wrinkled to enlarge if necessary. When filled, the bladder vertex can be felt through the abdominal wall.

In the upper part of the urinary bladder, the two ureters open. Its oblique shape and its slit-shaped mouth create a valve-like closure, preventing the urine from returning to the kidneys.
The urine is stored in the bladder. This tapers in a funnel shape down towards the urethra (urethra), this part of the bladder is also called bladder neck. Bladder neck and bladder bottom are on the pelvic floor. The urethra runs through the pelvic floor. They empty the urine.
In the area of ​​the urethra mouth, there are two sphincters that prevent the urine from escaping from the urinary bladder. If the bladder is emptied randomly or involuntarily - such as in incontinence, the smooth muscle of the bladder wall contracts, the sphincter muscles open and the urine can flow through the urethra. These processes are controlled by nerve impulses from the sacral nerve plexus (sacral plexus).
For protection, the bladder is lined with a mucous membrane. The outer layer of the bladder consists of smooth muscles, which involuntarily contract when emptied. The bladder contents, supported by the voluntary controllable abdominal and pelvic muscles, are pressed out of the bladder.

What is the function of the bladder?

The urinary bladder serves as a buffer for the urine. Here, the waste product is collected and stored to be disposed of on a favorable occasion. As the kidneys continuously produce urine, without urinary bladder urine would be excreted all the time.

The urethra mouth is tightly closed by two sphincters. Only the outer sphincter can be opened and closed arbitrarily. The inner sphincter opens reflexively. This usually ensures that the bladder can be deliberately emptied from time to time. During the time between emptying, the bladder is tightly closed - unless the volume of fluid exceeds its capacity.

"Bubble full" - this signal reaches the brain but much earlier, this is ensured by sensors in the bladder wall, which are stretched with increasing bladder content. Urinary frequency usually occurs in adults from 200 to 500 milliliters. From this bubble content one feels the urgent desire to empty the bladder.

Man and woman each have different bladder volumes. In women, it is smaller because the uterus also claimed space in the abdomen. In addition, each person also has an individually different capacity. And: how quickly one has the feeling of having to pursue the urge can be trained. When emptying finally, an interplay of voluntary and reflex muscular activity ensures that the urine can drain.

How do you recognize a pyelonephritis and who is particularly at risk?

Where is the bladder?

The urinary bladder is located in the pelvis, behind the pubic bone and the pubic symphysis. When empty, the bowl-shaped bladder does not exceed the upper edge of the pubic bone and therefore can not be felt through the abdominal wall. One wonders: Where exactly is the bubble? On the other hand, the situation can be easily determined with increasing urine filling. Here the pressure with the hand on the bladder strengthens the urinary urgency and thus allows the localization very well.

If the urinary bladder fills, it expands towards the navel, but does not reach it, even at maximum filling.

In women, the bladder borders the uterus (uterus) in the posterior part of the pelvis, and the rectum adjoins the back of men. In both sexes, the urinary bladder lies on the pelvic floor and the urethra passes through the pelvic floor. In this area you can also find the two sphincters of the bladder.
The bladder is covered in the upper and posterior part of the peritoneum (peritoneum), thus lying outside the abdominal cavity.

What problems can the bladder cause?

There are many acquired and congenital diseases of the bladder. Woman and man are equally affected. Women, however, more often suffer from inflammation of the bladder (cystitis). Because with them the shorter urethra favors that germs can ascend into the bladder and infect them.

Also more susceptible are women for bladder weakness (incontinence), of which there are various forms. The bladder weakness is in most cases associated with a weakening of the pelvic floor, which is weakened by birth. But there are also other triggers: consequences of an injury, bladder or uterine prolapse or neurological diseases. Suffering men under incontinence is often a surgical procedure, such as the removal of the prostate, the cause. Pelvic floor training can often help.

In addition, there is also the so-called irritable bladder. This manifests itself in constant, often rash-like urination, although only small amounts of urine are released from the bladder. Part of the explanation can be found in neurological diseases, bladder stones, bladder tumors or infections. Very often the cause remains unclear.

Bladder stones can be very painful and uncomfortable. In this case, substances from the urine crystallize and form solid constituents. These lead to discomfort, especially when they move the urethra or go through the same.

Tumors can also form on the bladder (bladder cancer), especially in older age. Further possible diseases are bladder fistulas or sac-like protuberances on the bladder wall (bladder diverticulum)

Can the stuffed bladder can not be emptied by natural means, it is called a urinary retention. This condition is a medical emergency and can lead to kidney damage.

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    Nine tips for healthy kidneys

    Kidneys are heavy laborers. Among other things, they filter and detoxify the entire blood volume of the body around 300 times a day - that's up to 15 baths of blood. Everybody can do something to keep the organs fit. Here are nine simple tips to keep your kidneys healthy.

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    Keep yourself fit

    Sport improves cardiovascular function and protects your kidneys as well. Find a sport that you enjoy. So, exercise does not become a chore. The rule is: Exercise regularly and in smaller units than about every two weeks for three hours at a time.

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    Control your blood sugar

    High blood glucose levels are generally bad for the blood vessels. The sugar also forms complexes with proteins, which are deposited in tiny blood vessel nodules of the kidneys called glomeruli. Regularly checking that the values ​​are in order helps to recognize a creeping developing diabetes in good time. Those who already suffer from diabetes also protect their kidneys with good blood sugar levels.

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    Measure your blood pressure

    High blood pressure damages the vessels considerably in the long run. Even if you do not feel it: Increased values ​​are no trifle, even for the kidneys.

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    Eat healthy

    A balanced diet provides your body with all the essential vitamins and minerals. Caution salt: Large amounts of the popular condiment strain the kidneys too much. Make sure you eat low in salt. Spice up with fresh herbs!

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    Drink enough

    Kidneys need water to work properly - this is the only way to get enough urine out of the body, and therefore pollutants. It should be 1.5 liters a day - even more in sports and heat.

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    Avoid cigarettes

    Smoking is poison, especially for the vessels. If you succeed in giving up cigarettes, you also do something for your kidneys. Because the organs have to filter the toxins contained in the tobacco from the blood - and that is a big burden.

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    Avoid being overweight

    Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases - including kidney failure. The organs benefit from a not too lush body shape. Therefore, try to lose extra pounds. This works best with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

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    Take painkillers only for a short time

    The kidneys as filter organs have the task to remove drug substances from the body. In particular, they respond sensitively to a continuous shot by painkillers. Therefore, take especially over-the-counter analgesics only for a short time.

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    Have your kidney function checked

    Monitoring kidney function is particularly useful if you belong to a high-risk group. These include all people over the age of 60, diabetics, people with high blood pressure, overweight people and people with kidney disease family members.

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