What is Neurogenic Bladder?

Published 2021/02/20

Neurogenic bladder is a condition in which the nerves and muscles of the urinary system don’t function properly together. It’s most often associated with the brain, spinal cord, or nerve dysfunction or damage, and usually results in a loss of control over your ability to urinate.

How a Healthy Bladder Works

A healthy bladder is essentially an expandable sac that stores urine and then uses muscular contractions to push it out through a tube called the urethra. When everything is functioning properly, the signal to urinate travels from your brain to your bladder when the sac is about one-quarter full. Muscular valves inside the urethra, meanwhile, prevent urine from leaking out.


But what happens when your brain fails to regulate this process – when the message to urinate doesn’t get effectively communicated to your bladder? People with neurogenic bladder often end up urinating too much or too little because they develop conditions like overactive bladder, underactive bladder, obstructive bladder, or bladder retention.

Neurogenic Bladder
Causes and Symptoms

Spinal cord injuries, tumors, birth defects, and nerve damage can all lead to neurogenic bladder. But it can also be triggered by medical conditions like Multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and stroke.


Because people with neurogenic bladder often lose the urge to urinate, their bladders tend to fill beyond normal capacity and leak. At the same time, they may suffer from urinary retention and lack the ability to completely empty their bladders.


Common neurogenic bladder symptoms include:

  • Loss of bladder control (incontinence)
  • Trouble determining when your bladder is full
  • Urine leaks
  • Dribbling urine stream, coupled with the inability to fully empty your bladder

Unfortunately, when urine is allowed to remain in the bladder for long periods of time, the risk of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs) increases. Frequent UTIs can lead to internal damage that may eventually result in renal failure.

Our Intermittent Catheters
Help Manage Neurogenic Bladder

The good news is that those diagnosed with neurogenic bladder are likely to have various treatment options available to them, such as:

  • Self-catheterization to completely empty the bladder
  • Medications that increase or decrease bladder muscle contractions
  • Bladder reconstruction surgery, or the insertion of an artificial bladder valve
  • Electrical stimulation therapy, in which electrodes placed on the bladder send impulses to the brain to promote urination

Your doctor may recommend catheterization with a urinary catheter to help empty the bladder of urine on a regular basis. If so, self-catheterization with a discreet, disposable, pre-lubricated catheter like CompactCath®  may be the right solution for you.

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