What are the bladder spasms medications and how to manage it? 

bladder spasm medication
Medically reviewed by Dr. Asim Cheema


Living with an overactive bladder (OAB) can disrupt even the simplest of activities, from enjoying a night out to spending quality time with loved ones. The constant urge to urinate and bladder cramps can lead to fear of embarrassment, limiting social engagements and affecting every aspect of daily life. Bladder spasms, a common symptom of OAB, can be particularly disruptive and uncomfortable. Fortunately, medications are crucial in managing these symptoms, offering relief and helping individuals regain control over their lives. This blog will discuss medicines used to treat bladder spasms, how they work, and their potential side effects, providing a comprehensive guide for those seeking effective treatments.

What is the best bladder spasms medication?

One of the causes of Bladder spasms is an Overactive bladder. The intensity of the symptoms, underlying causes, and general health of the patient all play a role in determining the optimal prescription for bladder spasms. However, anticholinergics and mirabegron are two drugs that are frequently used for bladder spasms.

Anticholinergics for Bladder Spasms

How Anticholinergics Work

Anticholinergic medications are commonly prescribed to treat bladder spasms and overactive bladder (OAB). They work by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that triggers muscle contractions in the bladder. Anticholinergics reduce the frequency and intensity of bladder contractions by inhibiting acetylcholine, decreasing the urge to urinate and helping control bladder spasms.

Side Effects of Anticholinergics

While anticholinergics can be effective in managing bladder spasms, they can also cause a range of side effects, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Cognitive impairment (especially in older adults)

Due to these possible adverse effects, anticholinergics may not be appropriate for everyone and a healthcare provider should regularly supervise their use.

Mirabegron for Bladder Spasms

How Mirabegron Works

A beta-3 adrenergic agonist called Mirabegron is used to treat overactive bladder and bladder spasms. It functions by causing the bladder wall’s detrusor muscle to relax during the bladder fill cycle’s storage phase. This relaxation helps to manage bladder spasms and curb the urge to urinate by increasing bladder capacity and decreasing the frequency of involuntary contractions.

Side Effects of Mirabegron

Mirabegron is generally well-tolerated, but it can cause some side effects, including:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nasopharyngitis (cold symptoms)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Both anticholinergics and Mirabegron offer practical solutions for managing bladder spasms, but the choice of medication will depend on individual health factors, potential side effects, and specific medical needs.

Other Medications for Bladder Spasms

In addition to anticholinergics and Mirabegron, several other medications can be prescribed to manage bladder spasms. Beta-3 adrenergic agonists, Tricyclic antidepressants, Botulinum toxin (BOTOXⓇ), and nerve stimulation therapies. Below is an overview of each, detailing how they work and their potential side effects.

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Beta-3 Adrenergic Agonists (e.g., Mirabegron)

How They Work

Beta-3 adrenergic agonists like Mirabegron work by stimulating beta-3 receptors in the bladder, leading to the relaxation of the detrusor muscle. This helps increase bladder capacity and reduces the frequency and urgency of urination.

Side Effects

Tricyclic Antidepressants (e.g., Amitriptyline, Imipramine)

How They Work

Bladder spasms can occasionally be treated off-label with tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). These drugs prevent serotonin and norepinephrine from being reabsorbed, which can relax the bladder muscles. TCAs also include anticholinergic qualities that lessen bladder spasms.

Side Effects

Botulinum Toxin (BOTOX)

How It Works

BOTOX injections can be used to treat bladder spasms by paralyzing the detrusor muscle temporarily. This reduces the muscle’s ability to contract involuntarily, decreasing urination frequency and urgency.

Side Effects

  • Urinary retention
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Pain or discomfort at the injection site
  • Hematuria (blood in urine)
  • Generalized muscle weakness (rare)

Nerve Stimulation Therapies (e.g., Sacral Neuromodulation, Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation)

How They Work:

Nerve stimulation therapies send electrical impulses to the nerves that control bladder function. Sacral neuromodulation involves implanting a small device that stimulates the sacral nerves, while percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation uses electrodes placed on the skin near the tibial nerve. Both methods help modulate nerve activity, reduce bladder spasms, and improve bladder control.

Side Effects

  • Pain or discomfort at the implantation or stimulation site
  • Infection (for implanted devices)
  • Device malfunction (for implanted devices)
  • Temporary tingling or numbness (for percutaneous stimulation)

Alpha-blockers (e.g., Tamsulosin, Alfuzosin)

How They Work

Alpha-blockers and incontinence medications are typically used to treat bladder outlet obstruction but can also help with bladder spasms by relaxing the smooth muscle in the bladder, neck, and prostate. This improves urine flow and reduces bladder pressure and spasms.

Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Nasal congestion
  • Standing-related orthostatic hypotension or a dip in blood pressure


How It Works

Desmopressin is a synthetic hormone that reduces urine production by increasing water reabsorption in the kidneys. This can help manage nocturia (frequent nighttime urination) and decrease bladder spasms, especially at night.

Side Effects

  • Hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels)
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Water retention
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What is the natural treatment for an overactive bladder?

You may have questions like, “ How can I stop bladder spasms naturally?”. Natural remedies for overactive bladder (OAB) include pelvic floor exercises and bladder training. According to research, many people can benefit significantly from these non-drug treatments, which have few adverse effects.

Before starting any OAB treatment, it’s crucial to understand bladder function and the potential causes of overactive bladder.

“A large number of people suffer with OAB without ever asking a doctor for help,” says Dr. McCullough. 

Bladder Training

This is the most common non-medication treatment for OAB. Bladder training involves changing the way you use the bathroom. Instead of urinating whenever you feel the urge, you follow a schedule called scheduled voiding. This helps you learn to control the urge by gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits. Start by waiting a few minutes and slowly increase to an hour or more. To make it easier, sit still and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles several times when the urge to urinate arises. When the urge passes, stroll to the bathroom. Be patient; it may take up to eight weeks to see results.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

You can develop the muscles that regulate urine to strengthen other muscles as you exercise. The Kegel exercises involve holding, contracting, and then releasing the muscles that start and stop urination. Biofeedback can help identify the correct muscles to squeeze. Start with a few Kegel exercises and gradually work up to three sets of ten. Perform these exercises a few times daily for six to eight weeks to notice improvements in OAB symptoms.

Additional Treatments

Electrical stimulation is another technique for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. It entails using electrodes inserted into the vagina or rectum to provide tiny electrical pulses to the region.

Wearing absorbent pads might help manage leaks until your overactive bladder is under control.

Lifestyle Tips for Managing Incontinence

Avoid Certain Beverages and Foods

Limit caffeine, tea, sodas, alcohol, juices, fruits like oranges and grapefruit, and spicy foods before activities.

Fluid Intake Management

Avoid drinking fluids right before bed. Consult your doctor about limiting fluids at other times.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Exercise and weight loss can help with OAB symptoms and urine incontinence by lessening the strain on the bladder.

Double Void

To minimize the frequency of bathroom visits, ensure your bladder is empty by urinating, waiting a short while, and then attempting to urinate again.

Set a Bathroom Schedule

Aim to space out bathroom visits every two to four hours to train yourself to urinate at regular intervals.

Quit Smoking

Smoking irritates the bladder and can cause a persistent cough, which may trigger leaks.

Incorporating these natural treatments and lifestyle changes can help manage overactive bladder symptoms effectively, improving your quality of life.

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What are the bladder spasm medication precautions?

To guarantee safety and efficacy when using drugs for bladder spasms, there are a few things to consider. The primary safety measures for medications used to treat bladder spasms are explained in detail below:

Consultation with Healthcare Provider

Before starting any bladder spasm medication, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider. They can evaluate your specific condition, medical history, and other medications you may be taking to determine the most appropriate treatment.


Drugs used to treat bladder spasms may interact negatively with some medications, causing side effects. Your healthcare practitioner may select different therapies or change dosages to assist in the control of these risks.

Monitoring for Side Effects

When beginning a new bladder spasm medication, closely watch for side effects. Dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, dizziness, and urine retention are typical adverse effects.


Early detection of side effects allows for prompt management. Some side effects may diminish over time, while others may require adjusting the medication or dosage.

Adherence to Dosage Instructions

Always follow the prescribed dosage instructions carefully. Take only the recommended dose.


The medication’s effectiveness may be reduced if taken less often, but there is a greater chance of side effects and potential toxicity if more is taken than is advised.

Avoiding Alcohol

Limit or avoid alcohol consumption while taking bladder spasm medications.


Alcohol can increase the sedative effects of some bladder spasm medications, leading to enhanced drowsiness, dizziness, and risk of falls.

Hydration and Diet

Maintain adequate hydration and follow any dietary recommendations provided by your healthcare provider.


Certain drugs used to treat bladder spasms may cause constipation or dry mouth. Eating a balanced diet and drinking lots of water can help limit these adverse effects.

Interaction with Other Medications

Inform your healthcare provider about all other medications, supplements, and over-the-counter products you are taking.


Medication used to treat bladder spasms may interact with other medicines, increasing negative effects or decreasing effectiveness. A thorough medication evaluation can avoid adverse drug interactions.

Special Populations

Special consideration must be given to specific demographics, including older adults, pregnant or nursing women, and people with certain medical disorders (such as myasthenia gravis or glaucoma).


These groups may have different risk profiles for side effects or require alternative treatment options. For example, anticholinergics can worsen glaucoma symptoms or cause cognitive impairment in older adults.

Regular Follow-Up

Make routine follow-up meetings with your healthcare practitioner so that you may assess how the drug is working for you and make any required modifications.


Regular monitoring helps ensure the medication’s effectiveness and allows early detection of any emerging side effects or complications.

Understanding Medication Instructions

Make sure you fully understand how to take your medication, including whether it should be taken with food, the time of day it should be taken, and what to do if you miss a dose.


Proper adherence to medication instructions maximizes effectiveness and reduces the risk of side effects. For example, some medications may cause less stomach upset if taken with food.

Avoiding Abrupt Discontinuation

Do not stop taking your medication suddenly without consulting your healthcare provider.


Certain bladder spasm drugs have a rebound effect, where symptoms worsen when stopped abruptly. If necessary, your healthcare professional can offer a safe drug tapering schedule.

When to See a Doctor 

If your bladder spasms are severe, ongoing, or causing you a lot of pain, you should consult a doctor. If you notice unexpected changes in the frequency or urgency of your urination, have trouble urinating, have blood in your urine, or your pee is murky or smells bad, you should get medical help. A trip to the doctor is also recommended for any further symptoms such as fever, chills, lower back or side pain, unexplained weight loss, or exhaustion. It is important to see a healthcare provider if bladder spasms interfere with your everyday activities, do not improve with over-the-counter medications or home remedies, or happen following recent surgery or medical treatments.

FAQs about bladder spasm medication

Can an OAB be cured by medication?

Medications can significantly alleviate the symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB) and improve quality of life. However, they typically do not cure the condition. Long-term management may be necessary to maintain symptom control, including lifestyle changes and other treatments.

What does a Bladder spasm Feel like?

A bladder spasm feels like a sudden, intense, involuntary contraction of the bladder muscle, causing sharp or cramping pain in the lower abdomen, a strong urge to urinate, pressure or discomfort in the bladder area, and sometimes a burning sensation. It can also lead to increased frequency of urination and, in some cases, involuntary leakage of urine.

What is the first line of treatment for bladder spasms?

The first line of treatment for bladder spasms often includes lifestyle modifications and behavioural therapies. These may involve bladder training, pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), and dietary changes to avoid bladder irritants. For many patients, these non-pharmacological approaches effectively reduce symptoms. If additional treatment is needed, medications such as anticholinergics or beta-3 adrenergic agonists may be prescribed.

Do muscle relaxers help bladder spasms?

Yes, muscle relaxers can help alleviate bladder spasms by reducing the involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle. Medications like anticholinergics or beta-3 adrenergic agonists are commonly prescribed to relax the bladder muscle and relieve symptoms of overactive bladder, including spasms. 

How should you sleep with bladder spasms?

When dealing with bladder spasms, practicing good sleep hygiene is helpful. Avoid drinking large amounts of fluids before bed to reduce the need to urinate during the night. Empty your bladder before going to bed. Use the bathroom again before bed to ensure your bladder is as empty as possible. Consider using protective mattress covers or absorbent pads to manage any potential leakage. Experiment with different sleeping positions to find the most comfortable and put the slightest pressure on your bladder.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Chiang, D., et al. “Management of post‐operative bladder spasm.” Journal of paediatrics and child health 41.1‐2 (2005): 56-58.
  • Spoolder, Daphne AE, and Jeannette P. Geelhoed. “Management of bladder spasms in patients with indwelling urinary catheters: A systematic review.” Continence (2023): 100713.
  • Thompson, Ian M., and Robert Lauvetz. “Oxybutynin in bladder spasm, neurogenic bladder, and enuresis.” Urology 8.5 (1976): 452-454.
  • BRADLEY, DAVID V., and RALPH J. CAZORT. “Relief of bladder spasm by flavoxate. A comparative study.” The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and The Journal of New Drugs 10.1 (1970): 65-68.

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