Neurogenic bladder is a problem with how the bladder works because of a nerve problem. Problems may include: Bladder empties too oftenIncontinence—bladder empties at the wrong time.Urinary retention—unable to completely empty the urineUrine leaks out of the overfilled bladder
Bladder With Nerves, Female
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Neurogenic bladder is caused by damage or injury to the nerves carrying messages between the bladder and the brain. The nerve damage makes it difficult to coordinate when the bladder should empty.
Factors that increase your child's chance of neurogenic bladder include:
Birth defect that affects the spinal cord, such as
spina bifidaSpinal cord injuryTumors of the brain
or spinal cord in the pelvic area
Infection of the brain or spinal cord
Symptoms may include: Small amount of urineFrequent urinationDribbling urineInability to feel that the bladder is fullStraining during urinationInability to urinateOverflow of urine from a full bladderPainful urinationKidney injury from urine backing up into the bladder
These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If your child has any of these symptoms, talk to their doctor.
You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. The doctor may ask you to keep a diary of how often your child empties his or her bladder and other urinary habits.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with: Urine testsBlood testsBladder function test
Imaging tests may also be done to evaluate the bladder and urinary tract. These may include: X-raysUltrasoundCT scanMRI scan
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include the following:
The doctor may recommend that your child take antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections.
Other medication may also be used to improve bladder function.
A thin tube, called a catheter, can be inserted to empty your child’s bladder. You can learn to do this for your child, or a trained healthcare professional may do it.
If other treatments fail, surgery may be an option. The exact type of surgery will depend on what is causing the problems. Some surgical options include enlarging the bladder or creating an artificial sphincter to control urine flow.
Most cases of neurogenic bladder cannot be prevented.
Neurogenic bladder in children. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at:
http://www.childrenshospital.org/health-topics/conditions/neurogenic-bladder. Accessed March 10, 2016.
Neurogenic bladder. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website. Available at:
http://www.chw.org/medical-care/urology/urology-overview/neurogenic-bladder. Accessed March 10, 2016.
Neurogenic bladder. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=9. Accessed March 10, 2016.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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