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About your bladder

The bladder is a storage organ that sits in your pelvis. Urine is made by your kidneys and stored in the bladder until you are ready to empty it. When you go to the toilet your bladder outlet muscles (urethral sphincter and pelvic floor) relax and your bladder contracts (squeezes) emptying your bladder of urine. Your brain controls your bladder by sending messages to tell it when to hold on and when to empty.

Anatomy of pelvis and bladder with pelvic floor muscles


 Male pelvic floor anatomy diagram

 Male pelvis anatomy


  Female Pelvic floor anatomy

Female pelvis anatomy

What are the signs of a healthy bladder?

A normal bladder:

  • empties 4-6 times each day
  • can hold up to 400-600ml of urine (the sensation of needing to empty occurs at 200-300 ml)
  • may wake you up once at night to pass urine and twice if you are older (i.e. over 65 years of age)
  • tells you when it is full but gives you enough time to find a toilet
  • empties completely each time you pass urine, and
  • does not leak urine. 

People who experience accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder may be suffering from urinary incontinence.