Common Bladder Conditions

The urinary bladder is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen responsible for storing urine until it is expelled through excretion. The anatomical difference in the urinary bladder between men and women results in the differentiation of bladder issues at different stages in life.

Depending on one’s risk factors, the likelihood of developing bladder conditions varies. Additionally, dealing with a bladder condition in itself is a challenging feat as one does not just struggle with lowered quality of life but also deteriorating psychological health, which is often associated with humiliation and embarrassment.

Over a lifetime, one may encounter a wide range of bladder conditions. Below are various conditions that can be addressed here at Aare Urocare and our treatment pathways for our patients in Singapore.

1. Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a condition where the cells in the bladder mutate and multiply uncontrollably. Often beginning at the urothelial cells, this form of cancer is diagnosed in its early stages. It is 4 times more likely in men and is prevalent among the older demographic.

Bladder cancer
Bladder cancer occurs when a mutation occurs in the cells, causing them to multiply uncontrollably.

Symptoms of bladder cancer

Some common signs that may be indicative of bladder cancer include: 

  • Blood in urine (haematuria
  • Issues with urination, such as frequent urination, urinary incontinence, and painful urination 
  • Pelvic pain 
  • Unexplainable weight loss

Treatment options for neurologic lower tract dysfunction

Depending on the type, grade, and stage of bladder cancer, treatment for bladder cancer may include: 

  • Transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT): surgical treatment to remove superficial cancers while conducting biopsy for further examination.
  • Cystectomy: a procedure that removes all (radical) or part of the bladder (partial) that contains the cancerous tumour. After a radical cystectomy, a urinary diversion procedure is performed to create a new pathway to expel urine.
  • Chemotherapy: either systemic chemotherapy (delivered via veins or muscles) or intravesical therapy (chemotherapy delivered directly to the bladder) to shrink tumours and kill cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy: utilises high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: amplifies an immune response to fight against cancer cells, delivered directly into the bladder through a catheter and triggers the immune system by interacting with the cancer cells.

2. Neurologic Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction (NLUTD)

Neurologic lower tract dysfunction (NLUTD), also known as neurogenic bladder, is a condition where patients struggle with bladder control due to the brain, spinal cord, or nerve-related issues. This condition may also occur in patients with cerebrovascular accidents or herniated discs. Patients with NLUTD tend to struggle with issues related to the bladder, muscles in the bladder, bladder neck, and sphincters.

Symptoms of bladder cancer

Some of the symptoms that may manifest from NLUTD include: 

  • Urinary urgency 
  • Inability to empty bladder 
  • Unpurposeful urinary leakage (incontinence) 
  • Lack of sensation in the bladder
  • Bladder spasticity (involuntary contractions) 
  • Frequent sensation of fullness in the abdomen
  • Pelvic pain
neurogenic bladder
The impact of neurological damage on the bladder can result in urine incontinence.

Treatment options for neurologic lower tract dysfunction

Depending on the severity of the condition and its impact on quality of life, treatment for neurologic lower tract dysfunction may include: 

  • Drugs: medications to reduce contractions in the bladder, relax the muscles in the bladder neck and sphincters, and stimulate the bladder to contract and help to empty better.
  • Non-invasive treatments: bladder training and pelvic floor exercises can be used to train your body to regain bladder control holistically. 
  • Medical device: medical devices such as a catheter to help empty the bladder completely. 
  • Injection: injections such as Neurotoxin A can be used to relax bladder muscles and prevent spasms.  
  • Nerve stimulation: neuromodulation devices can stimulate the tibial and sacral nerves to help with bladder control.
  • Surgical procedures: severe cases may require surgery such as a sphincterotomy, bladder augmentation, and urinary diversion to optimise bladder functions.

3. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary bladder infection (UTI) is when a bacterial infection occurs in the bladder. A fairly common condition, 1 in 3 women in Singapore will face their first challenges with urinary tract infection by 24.

Urinary tract infection
Bacteria from UTI may originate from the skin, rectum, or through sexual intercourse.

Symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI)

Below are some symptoms that are suggestive of a urinary tract infection (UTI):

Treatment options for urinary tract infection (UTI)

Treatment for urinary tract infections would include: 

  • Medications: a cycle of oral antibiotics or intravenous antibiotic treatment if necessary. You may also be advised to consume probiotics or cranberry extracts as a preventative measure. 
  • UTI vaccines: a preventative measure which may be recommended for recurring cases of UTI.
  • Cream: such as topical oestrogen cream typically reserved for post-menopausal women.

4. Bladder diseases

These are a group of health conditions that impact the function of the urinary bladder. Conditions include nocturia, overactive bladder (OAB), urinary incontinence, voiding dysfunction, and underactive bladder (UAB).

Types of bladder diseases
Bladder diseases comprise various conditions such as cystitis, urinary incontinence, and overactive bladder.

Symptoms of bladder diseases

Depending on the exact diagnosis, symptoms of bladder diseases may include:

  • Nocturia: disrupted sleeping pattern from a frequent urge to urinate at night.
  • Overactive bladder: sudden and uncontrolled need to urinate.
  • Urinary incontinence: involuntary loss of urine (leakage) that commonly affects women.
  • Voiding dysfunction: poor coordination between the bladder muscles and the urethra that results in nocturia, overactive bladder, inability to empty bladder, weak urinary stream, dribbling and leaking urine, and urinary hesitancy

Treatment options for bladder diseases

Depending on your diagnosis, a wide array of treatment options for bladder diseases include:

  • Drugs: medications that address underlying hormone dysfunction that is subsequently causing urine dysfunction and regulate urinary frequency. 
  • Injections: such as neurotoxin bladder injections to improve muscle contractions. 
  • Nerve stimulation: such as neuromodulation and devices (Tensi +) to improve nerve messaging capabilities between the bladder and brain.  
  • Surgery: to increase bladder volume, prevent leakage, and resist pressure. 

Contact us and book a consultation today to gauge which treatment module best fits you.

How are common bladder conditions diagnosed in Singapore?

Diagnosing common bladder conditions in Singapore involves a series of medical evaluations and tests. This includes discussing your symptoms, duration, and relevant risk factors.

A physical examination may follow, during which your urologist may check for signs of infection or other physical abnormalities. A urine sample may be required to gather valuable information and detect signs of infection, haematuria (blood in the urine), and other irregularities.

Depending on your symptoms, your urologist may recommend imaging tests such as ultrasound, computed tomography scans (CT scans), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These tests can help identify structural abnormalities in the bladder or surrounding organs.

In some cases, you may be required to undergo a cystoscopy to visually inspect the bladder’s interior for abnormalities or signs of disease. Urodynamic tests may also be performed if you are experiencing urinary incontinence or other functional issues.

A cystoscope is necessary if your urologist needs to inspect your bladder visually.

For cases where bladder cancer is suspected, a biopsy may be necessary. Other tests may include blood tests to help detect markers associated with bladder conditions, such as Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) for prostate issues.

Lastly, your urologist may perform a functional assessment for conditions such as overactive bladder. You may be asked to keep a bladder diary and record when and how often you urinate and fluid intake.

Your urologist will use the information gathered from these diagnostic methods to determine the cause of your bladder condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


Bladder conditions can significantly impact individuals socially and psychologically and severely impact one’s quality of life. Many bladder conditions in Singapore go undiagnosed as patients are veiled with shame and embarrassment, avoiding diagnosis and treatment. 

Here at Aare Urocare, we are dedicated to the cause of patients reclaiming their lives with an array of treatment modules. A bladder condition is rarely a life sentence; in the right hands, you can overcome challenges affiliated with your diagnosis.

Frequently asked questions

To maintain good bladder health, you should stay hydrated, practice good hygiene, limit caffeine and alcohol intake, and avoid holding in urine.

You should see a doctor for bladder issues if you experience frequent urination, pain or discomfort, blood in the urine, or any significant change in your urinary habits that persist.

No, bladder tumours are not always cancerous. Some bladder tumours are non-cancerous, while others can be cancerous. A urologist will need to conduct tests to determine the nature of the tumour.

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Dr. Fiona Wu 2

Dr Fiona Wu
Consultant Urologist

MBBS (S'pore), MRCS (Edin), MMED (Surg),
MMED (Clinical Investigation),
FRCS (Urol) (RCPSG), FAMS (Urology)

Dr Fiona Wu is an experienced Consultant Urologist and is the Medical Director of Aare Urocare.

Prior to her private practice, she spent 15 years in public service. She was a Consultant in the Department of Urology at National University Hospital (NUH), Alexandra Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

She believes in treating urinary incontinence in a holistic way using minimally invasive methods – this ranges from laser treatment, neurotoxin injections, electromagnetic nerve stimulation to minimally invasive surgeries, etc. She worked closely with the gynaecology and colorectal departments to treat complex pelvic floor conditions and continues to do so in her own practice.

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