Bladder Pain From Sleeping Positions

If you awake in the morning experiencing bladder pain, you may be surprised to learn that your sleeping position could be contributing to your pain. Because this pain can lead to sleepless nights, learning the best sleeping positions to reduce strain on your bladder may give you some relief.

A woman waking up in the morning. Credit: nesharm/iStock/Getty Images

Significance

Some sleeping positions can compress or tighten muscles that surround myofascial trigger points — also known as MTrPs — around your bladder, according to the Pelvic Health & Rehabilitation Center. Trigger points activate your nervous system, and pain can result. This can be especially noticeable when you are pregnant or experiencing a bladder condition, such as interstitial cystitis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Pregnancy

As you progress to the last stages of your pregnancy, sleeping can become progressively more problematic. Your growing baby may begin to press more on your bladder, according to Kids Health, the website of the Nemours Foundation. Also, your kidneys are filtering significantly more blood through your body, which increases the amount of urine you produce. This may result in shorter periods of sleep, causing you to wake up often during the night.

Solution

If you experience difficulties due to pregnancy-related bladder pain while sleeping, you may find that sleeping on your side can take pressure off your lower back and bladder, according to Net Wellness. As your baby increases in size, you may need a pillow to support your abdomen. Try also placing a pillow between your legs to reduce pressure on your bladder and back.

Side sleeping also is recommended for those who are not pregnant, yet experience bladder pain, according to the IC Network, an educational website for patients with interstitial cystitis. Engaging in relaxation techniques before bed can reduce nervousness and anxiety related to bladder problems when going to sleep. Deep breathing, reading a book or other relaxing activities may help.

Warning

Stomach sleeping is the position that can place the greatest strain on your bladder and cause pain, according to the IC Network. This position can contribute to bladder, neck, hip and back pain. If you are unable to sleep on your side, sleep with a pillow or flat pad supporting your hips, reducing the pressure placed on them. If you have a condition such as interstitial cystitis, you may be able to place your hands on pressure points near your bladder to reduce pain.

Physician Evaluation

If you continue to experience bladder pain related to your sleeping position, see your physician to ensure you are not experiencing a medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection. Your physician may perform testing such as a pelvic exam, tissue biopsy, urine test or other imaging test to view the bladder and surrounding structures, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your physician also may recommend modified sleeping positions specific to your condition to reduce pain.

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