If you think you have neurogenic bladder, you are certainly not alone.
Neurogenic bladder can happen to anyone at any age from newborns to senior citizens. While millions of people in the United States live with neurogenic bladder, we understand it can feel like a sensitive topic to discuss.
Read on to find out the answers to some of your questions about neurogenic bladder.
What Causes Neurogenic Bladder?
Neurogenic bladder is typically caused by another condition that affects the nerves of the bladder, including difficulty controlling when how the bladder releases urine.
A number of different conditions could potentially cause neurogenic bladder, including:
- Spina bifida
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Diabetic neuropathy
- ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Spinal cord injuries or spinal nerve trauma
- Nerve damage from pelvic/abdominal surgery
What Are the Symptoms of Neurogenic Bladder?
Typically, the symptoms vary from person to person. It will likely depend on the extent of nerve damage. There are sub-categories of neurogenic bladder, which are Overactive Bladder and Underactive Bladder. Some people present with symptoms of their bladder being both overactive and underactive.
An overactive bladder has symptoms of leakage of urine or more severe incontinence, depending on the severity of the condition. There may be issues with frequent urination, or feeling the need to go to the bathroom multiple times, whether it’s daytime or at night.
An underactive bladder doesn’t release urine the way it should. This means the muscles around the bladder or the urethra may stay tightened rather than relaxing to allow the bladder to fully empty.
Having symptoms like these may make you want to isolate yourself or back out of activities because of anxiety about possible leaks or frequent trips to the restroom. Untreated neurogenic bladder can put a kink in plans and keep you from doing things you normally enjoy doing. You might even be dealing with some fatigue if you have to get up frequently during the night due to an overactive bladder or occasional unexpected messes.
Urinary tract infections or bladder infections can also occur if the bladder is not fully emptying, and depending on your symptoms, if left untreated, it could potentially cause more severe infections or even kidney damage. This is why seeking treatment is so important.
What is the Treatment for Neurogenic Bladder?
Whatever the cause, we understand that having a neurogenic bladder can significantly impact your quality of life. That’s why it’s so important to schedule an appointment with a urologist or your general health practitioner as soon as possible when you notice any strange symptoms impacting your bladder’s health. Fast treatment may be able to prevent kidney damage or other issues. Your doctor will likely review your medical history, go over any recent possible injuries or other physical symptoms you may have had, and order several tests to determine the cause.
If you are diagnosed with neurogenic bladder, know that there are plenty of options for treatment that can help, many of which could be as simple as basic lifestyle changes, depending on the severity of your condition. Your doctor is the right person to go to for this information, and they will be able to suggest the treatments that they determine may be right for your individual needs, your medical history, and your preferences.
Some options for treating neurogenic bladder may include:
- Scheduled intermittent catheterization
- Dietary and fluid intake changes
- Bladder augmentation
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Urinary diversion
Intermittent catheters are commonly used to aid urination and improve day-to-day life. Catheterization may help you gain back a sense of independence, and you may feel less anxious about potential messes or not being able to urinate on your own when you know you have the right amount of sterile catheters on hand, no matter where you go.
In cases where the doctor determines that the dysfunction of the bladder is severe enough, it may warrant a procedure known as a urostomy, which creates an artificial opening known as a stoma so the urine can be diverted and emptied from the body more efficiently. If you end up undergoing a urostomy procedure, you’ll need urostomy supplies.
At 180 Medical, we specialize in both intermittent catheters and ostomy products, and we like to treat every customer like a member of our own family. When you call our team of specialists, you can feel confident knowing that we’ll listen to your needs and preferences while treating your sensitive situation with the compassion and care that you deserve.