Neurogenic bladder occurs when an illness or injury damages the nerves of your urinary tract. When this happens, your nerves and muscles do not communicate correctly, and your bladder does not fill or empty properly.
Signs You Should Get Help for Neurogenic Bladder
When you have neurogenic bladder, you urinate too much or not enough, which can lead to worrisome problems, including the following:
- An inability to empty your bladder
- Having to strain to urinate
- Urine leaks, or loss of bladder control
- Urinary tract infections
The causes of neurogenic bladder vary. Some of the most common conditions that cause this condition include the following:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Brain tumors and spinal cord tumors
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
- Spina bifida
- Spinal cord injury
If you are having urination problems, seek care from a urologist. If left untreated, neurogenic bladder may lead to kidney damage and urinary tract infections (or UTIs).
Neurogenic Bladder Treatment at Rush
Rush urologists are experts at diagnosing and managing neurogenic bladder. They collaborate with specialists in neurology, neurosurgery and colorectal surgery, as well. Working together, they can provide comprehensive, coordinated care for you.
Treatment for neurogenic bladder depends on the illness or injury causing the nerve damage and the type of urinary dysfunction. Some of the following treatments can help improve your symptoms:
- A bladder diary can help you monitor how much you're drinking, trips to the bathroom and any leakage. Your doctor will then go through your diary with you to determine certain times of day when you should use the bathroom.
- Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to improve your bladder control.
- Medications can help relax bladder muscles and prevent muscle spasms that cause bladder control problems.
- Catheters can relieve urinary retention. You can regularly place a new catheter at different times of the day to empty your bladder, or you can use an indwelling catheter, which can be used for longer periods of time.
- Electric stimulation uses mild electrical pulses to stimulate the nerves controlling the bladder and sphincter muscles to help restore communication between nerve cells.
- Surgical intervention, such as bladder reconstruction, is typically reserved for severe neurogenic bladder problems that have not responded to more conservative treatments.
Rush Excellence in Neurogenic Bladder Care
- Top-ranked programs: The urology, neurology and neurosurgery programs at Rush are consistently ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
- Collaborative specialty care: Many patients with neurogenic bladder require the expertise of both a urologist and neurologist who specialize in treating this disorder. At Rush, these specialists work together as a team to provide you with comprehensive, coordinated care.
- Compassionate care: Urologists and neurologists at Rush understand the deeply personal nature of bladder control issues. They offer comprehensive and compassionate care in a safe, judgment-free setting.
- Emotional support: Psychiatrists and psychologists at Rush work with you to cope with the emotional aspects of neurogenic bladder and the illness or injury causing it.