Nerve disease and bladder control

Head | Neurology | Nerve disease and bladder control (Disease)


For the urinary system to do its job, muscles and nerves must work together to hold urine in the bladder and then release it at the right time. Nerves carry messages from the bladder to the brain to let it know when the bladder is full. They also carry messages from the brain to the bladder, telling muscles either to tighten or release. A nerve problem might affect your bladder control if the nerves that are supposed to carry messages between the brain and the bladder do not work properly.

Damaged nerves may send signals to the bladder at the wrong time, causing its muscles to squeeze without warning. The symptoms of overactive bladder include urinary frequency-defined as urination eight or more times a day or two or more times at night, urinary urgency-the sudden, strong need to urinate immediately, urge incontinence-leakage of urine that follows a sudden, strong urge to urinate.

Causes and Risk factors

Many events or conditions can damage nerves and nerve pathways. Some of the most common causes are vaginal childbirth, infections of the brain or spinal cord, diabetes, stroke, accidents that injure the brain or spinal cord, multiple sclerosis, heavy metal poisoning.

In addition, some children are born with nerve problems that can keep the bladder from releasing urine, leading to urinary infections or kidney damage.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The treatment for a bladder control problem depends on the cause of the nerve damage and the type of voiding dysfunction that results.

In the case of overactive bladder, your doctor may suggest a number of strategies, including bladder training, electrical stimulation, drug therapy, and, in severe cases where all other treatments have failed, surgery. ...