An enlarged bladder, also referred to as bladder hypertrophy, is a medical condition in which the bladder becomes larger than normal, stretches too much, or develops thicker walls. Some people also are born with a bladder that's larger than normal, while in other cases, the condition may develop as the result of an obstruction of some sort. Sometimes, a person may even develop the condition because of an abnormally high volume of urine output or failure to empty the bladder fully on a regular basis.
Since the bladder is larger than normal when it's enlarged, it may stick out past the point it should instead of being held in place by the surrounding body tissues. A bladder that sits outside of it's normal position in this manner may impair the normal function of other organs, such as the kidneys, even though the bladder itself may function normally. Sometimes, this causes the patient's urine flow to become blocked, making it difficult or even impossible for him to empty his bladder fully. Surgery may be required to correct this problem.
Often, a bladder becomes enlarged when something blocks the urinary tract. The cause of the obstruction may gradually affect the walls of the bladder, causing them to thicken over a period of time. They may thicken enough to make the whole organ larger than normal. In some cases, the obstruction is caused by a tumor, which could be benign or malignant; sometimes bladder stones cause this issue as well. Surgery is often used to remove the obstruction in such a case, and the bladder often returns to its normal size after the treatment.
An individual may be diagnosed with an enlarged bladder after the organ becomes stretched due to urine retention or an abnormally large volume of urine output. For example, a person may have trouble emptying his bladder fully and may constantly retain a bit of urine. Other people have medical conditions that cause their bodies to produce more urine than normal. Both of these situations can lead to the stretching of the bladder, and correcting the underlying cause of these conditions may allow the bladder to return to a more normal size. If stretching is severe, however, it may not regain its normal tone.