Some people notice changes in the way their bladder works after treatment. For some people, these start during treatment and don’t get better. But sometimes bladder changes may develop months or years after treatment has finished.
Changes also happen as bladder muscles age, so the symptoms here are more common in older people.
Women who’ve been through childbirth and menopause are also more likely to get urinary problems.
The bladder is a stretchy, muscular bag that collects and stores urine. It’s in the lower part of the pelvis, connected to the kidneys (which produce urine) by tubes called the ureters. Urine drains from the bladder through a tube called the urethra.
The bladder is supported by the pelvic floor muscles, which act a bit like a hammock. Some of these muscles wrap around the urethra (called the urethral sphincter), keeping it sealed like a valve until you need to pass urine.
When the bladder is full, it sends a signal to the brain that you need to pass urine. When you’re ready, the brain tells the pelvic floor muscles to relax and open the urethra. The bladder muscles tighten (contract) and push the urine out.