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What is a neurogenic bladder?


Neurogenic bladder is the name given to a number of urinary conditions in people who lack control of bladder function due to neurological problems; those being brain, spinal cord or nerve problems.


What causes a neurogenic bladder?

Neurogenic bladder causes are often due to diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease or diabetes. It can also be caused by:
 
• infection of the brain or spinal cord
• heavy metal poisoning
• stroke
• spinal cord injury
• major pelvic surgery
 
People who are born with problems of the spinal cord, such as spina bifida, may also have this type of bladder problem.

What are the symptoms of a neurogenic bladder?

Neurogenic bladder symptoms can include:
 
• Overflow incontinence
• Urinary retention

How to treat a neurogenic bladder?

Firstly, you need to be seen by a doctor to have a thorough assessment. Once a neurogenic bladder has been diagnosed then they will put you on the right course with the best way to tackle it. 
 
They may talk to you about bladder management. The goals of this are to:
 
• Achieve regular complete bladder emptying
• Avoid high filling and voiding pressures and preserve kidney function
• Maintain continence and avoid symptoms of frequency and urgency
• Prevent and treat complications and UTIs (avoid overtreating asymptomatic bacturia)
 
One of these approaches could be using a urinary catheter. A urinary catheter is a flexible tube that is used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag. 
 
These are usually inserted by a doctor or nurse. There are two main types of urinary catheter:
 
Intermittent catheters – these are temporarily inserted into the bladder and removed once the bladder is empty.
 
Indwelling catheters – these remain in place for many days or weeks, and are held in position by an inflated balloon in the bladder. This is not a recommended option though as there is an increased risk of picking up a UTI. Any urinary retention leaves you with a higher chance of having a UTI.
 
Your doctor may also want to discuss the following treatment options with you:
 
• Urinating at regular intervals
• Electrical stimulation therapy
• Medications which could strengthen muscle contractions
• Surgery
 
You can find out more about the different types of urinary catheters on the NHS website.
 
We understand that it can sometimes feel like incontinence is unbeatable, but TENA products can help you to manage it effectively. Have a look on the following pages to find out more about incontinence, and pick the product that is best suited to you: