An expert guide to bladder problems

Written by: Miss Victoria Asfour
Edited by: Sophie Kennedy

From chronic urinary tract infections to stress incontinence, there are a number of bladder problems which can cause pain and discomfort and disrupt daily life. In this detailed guide to bladder problems, revered consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician Miss Victoria Asfour details the causes behind common bladder and urinary issues, such as increased urgency, infections and incontinence, and also shares her expert insight on the lifestyle changes that can help to avoid bladder irritation.



What causes bladder problems to occur?


Bladder problems have a wide variety of causes. For example, infection is one of the most common causes of bladder symptoms (UTI, urinary tract infection). The patient may experience pain on passing urine (dysuria) as well as needing to pass urine frequently. This will often resolve simply with drinking water or on its own, as the body fights the infection.


In some cases, the infection may not clear, and continue to cause problems for a long time (chronic cystitis). As a rule of thumb, the longer a problem continues, the more difficult it becomes to fix. In some cases, long-standing infection may require a longer course of antibiotics. Some patients will recover or partially recover, but then get repeated infections requiring treatment (recurrent UTI).


There are many other causes of bladder problems, such as overactive bladder (OAB), where the patient feels the need to pass urine very frequently, including at night (nocturia); urge incontinence and stress incontinence, to name a few.



What are the signs of bladder problems?


There is a wide range of problems caused by the bladder, including pain, leaking urine (incontinence), needing to pass urine very frequently and urgently or not being able to pass urine. Needing to wake up to visit the toilet is one of the most distressing symptoms because it disturbs sleep, making the person feel tired the next day. Bladder symptoms are very disruptive to people’s quality of life.



Do the symptoms of bladder problems differ between men and women?


Although the symptoms men and women experience are not so different, the causes of the symptoms are quite different due to different anatomy!



How is the underlying cause of bladder problems diagnosed?


As with any condition, a thorough assessment of the history by a trained professional is the starting point. Further tests are not always necessary.



Can diet improve bladder problems?


This is an important area. There is the advice of drinking lots of water to clear toxins, and to treat urine infections. However, this can be quite hard on the bladder. I have come across patients drinking large volumes of water, which caused very frequent trips to the toilet and leaking, which all settled with limiting drinking water to a smaller volume.


Drinking large amounts of caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee, can irritate the bladder, causing the feeling of urgency and needing to pass urine frequently. Reducing these drinks can help or even completely resolve the problems.


In some cases, there are some people whose bladder may be sensitive to certain foods, such as high histamine containing foods (fermented foods): tomatoes, spinach, vinegar, tinned food. Avoiding these irritants can help with the symptoms of bladder problems.




If you are suffering from bladder problems and wish to schedule a consultation with Miss Asfour, you can do so by visiting her Top Doctor’s profile.

By Miss Victoria Asfour
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Miss Victoria Asfour is a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician with over 15 years of experience, Miss Asfour is skilled in many areas of gynaecology and has a specialist interest in urogynaecology, including incontinence, prolapse, pelvic floor dysfunction arising after childbirth, and problems with intercourse.

Miss Asfour offers a free messaging service to facilitate planning of face-to-face and virtual appointments in order to:

   - help patients confirm that this is the right service and consultant for them
   - discuss most suitable options including venue and time for the consultation

After earning her medical qualification from the University of Sheffield in 2005, she completed her foundation training in Sheffield. She went on to gain specialist training in obstetrics and gynaecology in South London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex in 2008. In 2009, she became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons England, whilst starting her career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She went on to graduate from the University of Kent in 2012 with a Master’s degree in surgical practice. In 2014, she gained membership at the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Miss Asfour has undertaken a Medical Doctorate in pelvic floor ultrasound, investigating the use of ultrasound in urogynaecology, at Imperial College London.

Since 2020, Miss Asfour has been a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology for the NHS and has worked in Obstetrics and Gynaecology with a specialist interest in urogynaecology. Privately, Miss Asfour treats patients at Aster Health & Baby Scan Clinic, in Luton. Miss Asfour is passionate about women’s care, treating each patient as an individual, and tailoring treatment and care plans to every individual’s personal situation. 

Aside from her clinical work, Miss Asfour actively participates in research. She has published papers, book chapters, case studies, and editorials. She has presented her work internationally and is a reviewer for esteemed journals, including the International Urogynaecology Journal, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She has held dual membership at the Royal College of Surgeons since 2009 and at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists since 2014.

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Platelet-rich plasma
    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
    Cosmetic Consulting
    Breast reconstruction
    Congenital malformations
    Sexual dysfunction
    Erectile dysfunction
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.