Neurogenic bladder is a problem in which a person lacks bladder control due to a brain, spinal cord, or nerve condition.
Several muscles and nerves must work together for your bladder to hold urine until you are ready to empty it. Nerve messages go back and forth between the brain and the muscles that control bladder emptying. If these nerves are damaged by illness or injury, the muscles may not be able to tighten or relax at the right time.
Disorders of the central nervous system commonly cause neurogenic bladder. These can include:
Keeping a diary of when you urinate, the amount you urinated, and if you leaked urine. This may help you learn when you should empty your bladder and when it may be best to be near a bathroom.
Learn to recognize the symptoms of urinary infections (UTIs), such as burning when you urinate, fever, low back pain on one side, and a more frequent need to urinate. Cranberry tablets may help prevent UTIs.
Some people may need to use a urinary catheter. This is a thin tube that is inserted into your bladder.
You may need a catheter to be in place all the time (indwelling catheter).
You may need a catheter to be placed in your bladder 4 to 6 times a day to keep your bladder from becoming too full (intermittent catheterization).
Sometimes surgery is needed. Surgeries for neurogenic bladder include:
Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.