The term neurogenic bladder refers to a bladder that doesn't function properly because of nervous system damage.
Functions like filling, storing, and emptying the bladder are regulated by nerves. When these nerves become damaged, nerve signals are disrupted and loss of bladder control results.
Neurogenic bladder is often caused by an injury, tumor, or defect of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Diseases like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and neural tube defects like spina bifida also can be responsible. Sometimes nerve damage due to heavy, long-term alcohol use, diabetes, or a slipped disk will cause the problem.
Symptoms of neurogenic bladder may include frequent urination (peeing), inability to fully empty the bladder, incontinence (the accidental release of urine), and urinary retention (inability to urinate). People with the disorder are also more likely to develop urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Treatment for neurogenic bladder might include medication, strengthening exercises, or the use of a urinary catheter. Some people will need surgery to help ease symptoms.
Neurogenic bladder is not curable, but it is manageable. It's important to see a doctor as soon as the condition develops, however. Left untreated it can lead to kidney failure, which can be life threatening.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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