Q: What can cause the feeling of pressure on the bladder, even after you have voided completely?

A: A feeling of pressure on the bladder is not specific to any one condition. You would need a thorough evaluation by your doctor to determine the cause. It may be a problem arising from the bladder itself or it could be due to a condition external to the bladder. Bladder conditions that can cause pressure include infections, overactive bladder syndrome and interstitial cystitis.

A bladder infection, called cystitis, often causes a burning sensation in the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the body. Fever, blood in the urine, and low back pain are other signs of an infection in the urinary tract, but in some cases only a vague sense of pressure in the lower abdomen will be present.

Overactive bladder syndrome is a common condition that most often causes a frequent or urgent need to empty the bladder. Some patients however, only sense pressure, as if the bladder almost constantly feels full. Interstitial cystitis is a condition characterized by symptoms of bladder irritation but without a clearly identified cause. Often people have pain at the end of urination. But again, some people experience only the pressure.

Conditions outside the bladder that can cause pressure may involve the uterus, ovaries or intestinal tract. A uterine fibroid or ovarian cyst may compress the bladder. Constipation may cause a general sense of pressure throughout the pelvis. After you describe your symptoms, your doctor may conduct a physical exam, and ask for urine tests and a pelvic ultrasound to diagnose the problem and prescribe appropriate treatment.