The bladder is a sac that stores urine. Strong muscles surrounding the bladder opening keeps it closed until you experience an urge to urinate. The emptying of the bladder is controlled by nerves. When the bladder fills, nerves send a message to the brain, which in turn signals the bladder muscles to relax and store urine. Neurogenic bladder is characterised by poor bladder storage and emptying due to nerve damage, causing problems either in sending and receiving signals from the brain. The condition is associated with congenital neurological problems or an injury affecting the brain or spinal cord.
The signs of neurogenic bladder include difficulty in holding or passing urine, urinary tract infections, swollen kidneys or thickened bladder wall.
Your doctor may order urine tests, ultrasound scan and an urodynamics study to confirm on the diagnosis of neurogenic bladder. You may also be asked to record your pattern of voiding.
Treatment of neurogenic bladder depends on the cause of the condition. Maintaining a regular voiding pattern is recommended. Your doctor may prescribe medications to relax the bladder muscles and prevent muscle spasm. A catheter may be inserted to empty the bladder at regular intervals. In extreme cases, surgery may be performed to create another opening in the abdomen for the insertion of a catheter, enlarge the bladder or tighten the muscles to retain urine in the bladder.