Neurogenic bladder is a neurological condition which causes the urinary bladder to only partially empty itself during the process of urination. This dysfunction of the urinary bladder is caused due to the failure of the central or the peripheral nervous system involved in the control of micturition.
Causes of Neurogenic Bladder
The nervous system sends messages back and forth to the various organs involved to control the process of micturition. A faulty transmission due a damaged nerve may thus result into incomplete micturition or the condition of a neurogenic bladder.
Diseases of the spinal cord such as Syringomyelia or Hydromyelia, spinal injuries, tumors, diseases of the brain, peripheral nerve diseases and defects of the neural tube are often associated with a neurogenic bladder.
Some common disorders of the central nervous system which may cause the condition of a neurogenic bladder include but may not be limited to:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain or spinal cord tumors
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson disease
- Spinal cord injury
- Stroke recovery
Failure of the peripheral nerves is also a major cause of the condition of neurogenic bladder among patients worldwide. Some diseases of the peripheral nervous system include:
- Alcoholic neuropathy
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Nerve damage due to pelvic surgery
- Nerve damage from a herniated disc
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
Symptoms of Neurogenic Bladder
The condition of neurogenic bladder exhibits varied symptoms depending upon the underlying neurological disorder: While symptoms are vague sometimes and go unnoticed, they may be easily perceivable at others.
Some symptoms of an overactive urinary bladder are:
- Repeated urination in small amounts
- Burning sensation during urination
- Problems in emptying out the bladder completely
- Loss of bladder control
Certain symptoms of an underactive bladder include:
- Leakage of urine from the bladder
- Urinary retention
- Difficulty in comprehending fullness of bladder
Complications caused by Neurogenic Bladder
Some common complications that accompany a neurogenic bladder are:
- Skin breakdown and pressure sores due to excessive urine leakage.
- Kidney damage due to excessive urinary pressure built up due to an over-full bladder.
- Urinary tract infections.
Treatment of Neurogenic Bladder
A common method practiced in the treatment of the condition of neurogenic bladder is catheterization. Catheterization may be intermittent which involves no surgery or permanent requiring permanently attached appliances, or the creation of a stoma, bypassing the urethra to empty the bladder directly.
Other treatments involve the use of Mitrofanoff mechanisms.
Some other medications prescribed by physicians across the world include:
- Medicines to relax the bladder like oxybutynin or propantheline, generally recommended for an overactive bladder.
- Medicines to make certain nerves more active like bethanechol, generally prescribed for an underactive bladder.
- Medicines to treat infections like antibiotics, if the bladder suffers from urinary tract infections.
At more crucial times, a surgery may be required. Some common surgeries in practice include:
- Electrical stimulation of the sacral nerve
- Sling surgery
One may also exercise (Kegel exercises) to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to relieve the bladder off the symptoms of a neurogenic bladder.
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