Bladder Spasms: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 5/30/2017

A bladder spasm occurs when the bladder muscle squeezes suddenly without warning, causing an urgent need to release urine. A bladder spasm is referred to medically as a contraction of the detrusor muscle. The spasm can be so severe as to cause the leakage of urine (incontinence), which is characteristic of the condition urge incontinence, or overactive bladder. Sometimes, a bladder spasm is associated with severe cramping, burning, or pain. Bladder spasms can occur in people of any age. They are a common cause of daytime incontinence in children. They can be related to medical conditions that interfere with the function of the nervous system or may be related to infections or damage to the bladder itself. Certain medications and foods are also irritating to the bladder and may cause bladder spasms.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2017

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.