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What Can Cause Bladder Trauma?

When the bladder is empty, the bones of the pelvis protect it from blows to the lower abdomen. As it fills, though, the top of the bladder rises into the abdomen where it’s less protected. In children, the pelvic bones aren’t fully developed, so it’s more easily injured than adults. If the pelvis is hit with a force great enough to break the pelvic bones, the bladder may be injured even if it’s empty.

The most common ways the bladder is injured are:

  • Car crashes
  • Falls from high places
  • Heavy object falling on the lower abdomen

You can prevent bladder trauma from a car crash by wearing a seat belt properly. The seat belt should be worn as a lap belt, and not across the belly. During a car crash, passengers with a full bladder wearing a seat belt around the belly may have the force of the crash focus on the full bladder.

The bladder can also be hurt by being pierced from the outside ("penetrating trauma"). Some causes of penetrating trauma are:

  • Bullets
  • Knives
  • Shrapnel
  • IEDs (improvised explosive devices)