What Are the Causes of Thickening of the Bladder?

Numerous diseases including bladder outlet obstruction, hemorrhagic cystitis and amyloidosis disease cause thickening in the bladder 3. Common symptoms include painful and frequent urination, incontinence and blood in the urine. The conditions and diseases listed below are some of the more severe diseases that affect the bladder, and seeking medical treatment upon having any of the listed symptoms is highly recommended.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Bladder Outlet Obstruction

Bladder outlet obstruction is a condition where the opening of the bladder and urethra is partially or completely blocked, allowing little or no urine to leave the body. The bladder responds to this blocked flow of urine by thickening and working harder to squeeze urine out. Bladder walls will eventually become thin and the bladder will fail if this condition is not treated. Symptoms usually begin gradually then worsen over time and include:

  • trouble beginning urination
  • weak urinary stream
  • frequent daytime urination
  • waking up during the night to urinate
  • urinary urgency
  • incontinence

Sometimes the bladder outlet is obstructed due to prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)--enlarged prostate. Bladder outlet obstruction is rare in women, and if it does occur, it is generally due to neurological disorders or a large, sagging bladder. Smoking contributes to bladder tumors and urethra cancers so it is recommended that you quit smoking for to avoid future bladder problems.

Hemorrhagic Cystitis

Hemorrhagic Cystitis is when blood suddenly appears in the urine in conjunction with bladder pain. The amount of blood can vary; small amounts turn the urine light pink, greater amounts turn it deep red. Red blood often continues to flow out the urethra. Chemotherapy patients or those with already low blood cell counts are at great risk for this disease. Since hemorrhagic cystitis can lead to other health problems, it is a greater health concern for cancer patients whose bodies are already fighting a disease 1. Those suffering from a viral infection or who are taking strong antibiotics are also at risk for this disease. Symptoms include:

  • blood clots in urine
  • blood in urine
  • painful urination
  • burning when urinating
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain
  • waking up during the night to urinate
  • incontinence

It is most common in those receiving chemotherapy in the bladder or pelvic radiation.


Amyloidosis is a disease caused by the buildup of substances called amyloid proteins in the organs 3. Amyloid proteins are abnormal proteins produced mainly by cells in the bone marrow and can end up in any tissue or organ. This rare disease affects everyone differently, and as of 2010 its exact cause is unknown. The three main forms of this disease are primary, secondary and hereditary. The causes of primary amyloidosis are unknown while secondary amyloidosis will form in conjunction with other diseases such as tuberculosis and rheumatoid arthritis 3. Hereditary amyloidosis is when the disease is passed on through genetics 3. Those over 40 are more at risk for this disease, as are those with other diseases such as bone cancer. A family history of the disease puts a person at risk, as well as kidney disease that requires dialysis. Dialysis does not remove proteins from the blood, causing abnormal proteins to build up in the body. Amyloidosis disease can damage the heart, kidneys and nervous system 3.