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Neurogenic Bladder


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
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What is neurogenic bladder?

Your bladder is where urine is stored until you're ready to urinate (pee). "Neuro-" refers to nerves or the nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and "-genic" means produced or caused by.

Neurogenic bladder is lack of bladder control caused by problems with the nerves that go to your bladder.

  • Your bladder may fill up and overflow so that urine dribbles out

  • You may feel the urge to urinate even when your bladder isn't full

  • Doctors often have you empty your bladder with a catheter several times a day

  • Sometimes medicine helps

  • Getting treatment right away helps prevent kidney damage

Some nerve problems keep your bladder muscles from contracting normally. Then your bladder fills up with urine and you leak urine. When you urinate, your bladder doesn't empty all the way.

Other nerve problems make your bladder muscles contract too much or at the wrong time. Then you may urinate too often and urinate when you don't want to.

What causes neurogenic bladder?

What are the symptoms of neurogenic bladder?

How can doctors tell if I have neurogenic bladder?

Doctors suspect neurogenic bladder if you're having problems controlling urination. They'll use ultrasound or a catheter to measure how much urine is still in your bladder after you urinate. Doctors also do tests such as:

If it looks like you have neurogenic bladder, doctors may then do more specialized bladder tests.

How do doctors treat neurogenic bladder?

If your bladder fills up and won't empty properly, doctors will have you:

  • Use a catheter to empty your bladder several times a day

The catheter lets urine drain all the way. You use the catheter before your bladder fills up so much that you leak urine. Doctors prefer not to leave a catheter in all the time. It's better to put it in and then take it right out after the urine drains.

If your bladder contracts at the wrong times, doctors may use:

  • Medicine

  • Bladder training and relaxation techniques

They'll check to make sure your kidneys are working well.

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