How Multiple Sclerosis Impacts Bladder Health

By: Urology Care Foundation | Posted on: 27 Mar 2019

How Multiple Sclerosis Impacts Bladder Health

Bladder health issues are very common and there are a number of treatments available. Many bladder conditions can be handled through simple lifestyle changes, behavior modifications, medication, bladder retraining or surgery. Patients with diseases that affect the nervous system, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) may also be at risk for bladder issues that affect urination.

What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, "MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

"The cause of MS is still unknown. Scientists believe that a combination of environmental and genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing MS."

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has also pointed out that bladder dysfunction occurs in about 80 percent of people with MS. Bladder dysfunction also includes urinary incontinence.

What is Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is leaking of urine that you can't control. Many American men and women suffer from urinary incontinence. We don't know for sure exactly how many. That's because many people do not tell anyone about their symptoms. They may be embarrassed, or they may think nothing can be done. So they often suffer in silence.

Urinary incontinence is not just a medical problem. It can affect emotional, psychological and social life. Many people who have urinary incontinence are afraid to do normal daily activities. They don't want to be too far from a toilet. Urinary incontinence can keep people from enjoying life.

Many people think urinary incontinence is just part of getting older. But it's not. And it can be managed or treated. Neurogenic bladder is another aspect of bladder dysfunction that may impact people with MS. 

What is Neurogenic Bladder?

Millions of Americans have neurogenic bladder. It's the name given to a number of urinary conditions in people who lack bladder control due to a brain, spinal cord or nerve problem. This nerve damage can be the result of diseases such as MS, Parkinson's disease or diabetes.

It can also be caused by infection of the brain or spinal cord, heavy metal poisoning, stroke, spinal cord injury, or major pelvic surgery. People who are born with problems of the spinal cord, such as spina bifida, may also have this type of bladder problem.

Nerves in the body control how the bladder stores or empties urine, and problems with these nerves cause overactive bladder (OAB), incontinence, and underactive bladder (UAB) or obstructive bladder, in which the flow of urine is blocked.

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