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Distended Bladder Symptoms

author image Maria Ledbetter
With a master's in journalism and nursing, Maria Ledbetter is an active writer with several online publications. She has contributed more than 700 articles to various magazines and newspapers around the world, including the "Tuscaloosa News."

Underlying medical conditions cause distended bladder, a condition in which there's an inability to urinate even when the urge is felt. Anything that blocks the urethra from allowing the urine to flow, such as an enlarged prostate or kidney stones, can result in a distended bladder. According to Reviews in Urology, a distended bladder is becoming more common in the U.S. because of the large aging population.

Trouble Urinating

When someone suffers from distended bladder, it may be impossible to urinate even if the urge is present. If any urine is released from the bladder, it is never enough to provide relief from the full bladder. Sufferers can try to sit in a tub of warm water to encourage the flow of urination. If it is still impossible to urinate, they will need to be catheterized to empty the bladder.

Lower Abdominal Pain

Some people with a distended bladder will experience severe pain in the lower abdominal area, caused by the bladder remaining full for a long period of time. MayoClinic.com defines abdominal pain as pain or discomfort that occurs in the section of the torso between the chest and pelvis. The pain will diminish as soon as the bladder is emptied, but bladder and urinary tract infections could occur as a complication.

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Delay in Urination

Another symptom of a distended bladder is a delay in urination. This means that the time between trying to urinate and the actual flow of urine is delayed. There is usually a burning sensation that accompanies the urination once the flow begins. A person may need to strain in order to begin the flow of urine.


A distended bladder often results in bladder and urinary tract infections, which can cause fever. Medline Plus, a website of the National Institutes of Health, refers to fever as the body's natural way of fighting off infection. White blood cells are quickly sent to destroy any bacteria or foreign matter. A doctor should be consulted for treatment of a fever that could be related to distended bladder.

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