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