Have you found it increasingly difficult to get your bladder under control? Do you find yourself relieving yourself in times you least expect it?
We hear you. Experiences like this can be a struggle, especially if you’re already dealing with other health conditions on top of it (which is often the case).
The good news? This condition is a medically recognized phenomenon studied by doctors across the globe. It’s called a neurogenic bladder.
While it may not be the most common disease that afflicts the urinary system, it can significantly improve with the right treatment plan and under the right guidance of a medical professional.
Here’s what you need to know about a neurogenic bladder, including its definition, symptoms, diagnosis, risk factors, and possible avenues for treatment.
What is a Neurogenic Bladder?
A neurogenic bladder is a type of bladder dysfunction that occurs when the central nervous system is not functioning properly. It happens when there’s a disruption between the bladder and the brain, spinal cord or nerves. This disease is commonly a result of injury, but it can be caused by an infection or a genetic disposition to it.
The bladder is an organ found in your pelvis. It’s responsible for one main function: to store and release urine when the brain and spinal cord commands it.
For a bladder to function properly, it needs to receive messages from the brain telling it when to contract and when to release. These messages get sent to the nerves and muscles that control the release of urine.
When there’s a problem with the nervous system, these messages fail to send the right signals to the bladder. This can cause patients to leak uncontrollably.
Types of Neurogenic Bladder Conditions
There are two types of neurogenic bladder problems patients can face:
- Overactive neurogenic bladder (also known as spastic or hyper-reflexive)
- Underactive neurogenic bladder (also known as flaccid or hypotonic)
An overactive bladder is characterized by having minimized or complete lack of control over the flow of urine. This makes retaining urine much more difficult, thereby causing you to urinate more suddenly and frequently.
On the other hand, an underactive bladder is when your muscles become unable to store urine. You lose the sensation of knowing when your bladder is full or empty, so the patient ends up leaking the moment the urine in the bladder overfills.
Risk Factors of Neurogenic Bladder
People with prior injuries and male health issues are the group that’s most likely to suffer from a neurogenic bladder.
Here’s the likelihood of people suffering from a neurogenic bladder based on other health conditions they may be suffering from:
- Parkinson’s Disease: 37 to 72% of people with this disease have a neurogenic bladder.
- Stroke: About 15% of people with this disease have a neurogenic bladder.
- Multiple Sclerosis: 40 to 90% of adults with this disease have a neurogenic bladder, but men with multiple sclerosis can have fulfilling sex.
- Spina Bifida: 61% of young adults with this congenital disease develop urinary dysfunction.
- Spinal Cord Injury: Injuries to the spinal cord can affect bladder function.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Most common in women but can occur in men and cause a slew of sexual health issues.
- Cerebral Palsy: If the detrusor or bladder walls have sustained an injury, a neurogenic bladder may occur.
Addressing the root source of the problem is essential to effective treatment, as well as early detection. If you are living with any of the above conditions, get in touch with a doctor to improve bladder control.
Symptoms of Neurogenic Bladder
Urinary retention problems are the most pressing symptom to worry about when dealing with a neurogenic bladder.
But aside from that, here are other bladder problems that may arise with this condition:
- Feeling a sudden urge to urinate
- Frequent urination (more than 10 times daily)
- Urinary urgency
- Urinary leakage
In rare cases, feeling pain when urinating may occur when the neurogenic bladder is caused by urinary tract infections. Should that be the case, contact a doctor to get proper medical assistance.
Diagnosis of Neurogenic Bladder
Medical practitioners will usually hold a series of tests to determine the cause and type of neurogenic bladder you are suffering from.
This will help the doctor develop the best course of treatment for your condition. These tests may include:
- Ultrasound Tests: A test that uses sound waves and vibrations for bladder imaging.
- Cystoscopy: A test that looks for any blockages in the urethra or bladder using a cystoscope.
- Urodynamic Studies: A series of tests that measure the bladder’s ability to store and release urine.
- X-Rays: A test that uses radiation to take pictures of the urinary tract.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: A test used for detailed imaging of internal body parts
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan: A test that uses computer-generated radio waves to diagnose a bladder condition.
After the physical examination and series of tests, the doctor will be able to determine the type of neurogenic bladder you have and develop the proper male health treatment plan for you.
Treatment of Neurogenic Bladder
You can’t completely recover from a neurogenic bladder, but there are treatments available to help manage the condition. The goal of treatment is to help patients regain as much control over their urinary function as possible.
These treatments are:
- Clean Intermittent Catheterization (CIC): A process of self-catheterization where a patient inserts a thin tube through the urethra to empty the bladder.
- Continuous Catheterization: In this process, a catheter is permanently placed in the bladder to help drain urine.
- Bladder Augmentation: A surgery that involves enlarging the bladder or creating a new one using a section of the intestine.
- Ileal Conduit: A surgery that involves rerouting the urinary tract by using a section of the small intestine.
- Lifestyle Changes: Restricting foods that irritate the bladder, managing stressors, and getting active at least 150 minutes a week can all help keep you in shape and avoid worsening the condition.
Contact Cincinnati’s Leading Men’s Clinic for a Medical Consultation Today
A neurogenic bladder is a condition caused by damage to the nervous system or bladder muscles. Patients can manage the condition through an array of treatment plans.
Not sure what’s the best treatment for you? Reach out to a doctor to get started on finding a treatment plan that works for you.
The medical professionals at Cincinnati’s Proactive Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.