Overview

Neurogenic bladder is a condition where normal bladder function is disrupted due to nerve damage, affecting the storage and release of urine. This condition can occur in individuals of all ages and is often associated with neurological disorders such as spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions that impair nervous system communication.

The understanding of neurogenic bladder has evolved significantly over the centuries. Ancient medical texts offer glimpses of urinary dysfunctions, but the direct correlation to neurological control was not fully appreciated until more recent medical advancements. The term ‘neurogenic bladder’ itself came into usage during the 20th century as neurology and urology became more intertwined disciplines. Advances in medical imaging, electrophysiological studies, and urodynamic testing have greatly enhanced our ability to diagnose and understand this condition.

Causes

Neurogenic bladder is caused by damage to the nerves that control the bladder. This can result from:

Spinal Cord Injuries: Trauma or accidents leading to nerve damage.

Congenital Disorders: Conditions like spina bifida that affect the spinal cord.

Neurological Diseases: Multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, diabetes, and stroke.

Surgery or Trauma: Pelvic surgery or injuries that damage nerves.

Risk Factors

  • Neurological disorders or diseases.
  • Congenital abnormalities affecting the spinal cord.
  • Diabetes or other conditions that can cause nerve damage.
  • History of spinal cord injuries or surgeries affecting the pelvic area.

Complications

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Frequent infections due to incomplete bladder emptying.

Kidney Damage: Increased pressure in the bladder can lead to kidney damage or infections.

Bladder Stones: Resulting from residual urine that becomes concentrated and forms stones.

Incontinence: Social and emotional impact due to uncontrolled urination.

Prevention

While not all cases of neurogenic bladder can be prevented, managing underlying conditions and adopting healthy lifestyle practices can help reduce risks:

  • Regular monitoring and management of diabetes and other neurological conditions.
  • Preventing spinal injuries through safety measures and protective gear.
  • Regular pelvic floor exercises to strengthen bladder control.
  • Timely medical intervention for any urinary symptoms.

Symptoms

When to see a doctor