This blog is going to the be the first in a series. There will be three blogs about bladder anatomy, treatment, and medication, the fourth blog will be about the relationship between your bladder and estrogen, and then the fifth will have a video recap from Dr. Davis. By breaking it down into sections, the information (I hope) will be easier to understand and retain. So, let’s begin with The Bladder; A Diagram of Anatomy, Part 1 of 3.
The bladder is something you don’t really know is there… until, of course, it’s time to empty it. And if you are like millions of women around the country who suffer from various bladder conditions like Interstitial Cystitis, that sensation of needing to go happens far too many times in one day, disrupting your life as you always look for a restroom. Let’s take a moment to learn the basic anatomy of the bladder. (The diagram is self-drawn, so hang in there!)
For this blog we’re going to think of the bladder as a circle with a funnel coming out of it. Inside the circle is the interior of the bladder, where you hold urine, with the bladder lining making up the outside line. The “APF”s are proteins found in urine (we will talk more about those in the next blog). The funnel shape is called the trigone, and it is where urine is delivered from the kidneys and then is released out the urethra and leaves your body. Your brain communicates with your bladder using motor and sensory nerves (the squiggly lines running up and down the page). The brain receives signals from the sensory nerves and sends signals down to the bladder on the motor nerves.
So, how does all this come together to make the bladder function properly? As your bladder fills with fluid, signals are sent to your brain along the sensory nerves letting it know how soon it needs to be emptied. Your brain interprets the message and sends directions down the motor nerves telling your body what to do– and when the time is right your brain tells the muscles in the pelvic floor to contract and relax so that you are able to urinate.
So, what types of treatment are available, and which treatments help which part of the system? If you look at the diagram, the treatments are in parenthesis underneath the part of the system they target (for example, Elmiron). We will talk about these treatments in the next blog.