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Neurogenic Bladder Issues for People Who Have Multiple Sclerosis

Neurogenic bladder is when a person lacks bladder control due to a brain, spinal cord or nerve problem.This includes people with MS, Parkinson’s disease and people who have had stroke or spinal cord injury.More than 70% of people with MS have bladder problems primarily due to a disruption in the signal from the spinal cord o the bladder that tells it to ‘void’.1,8

With neurogenic bladder, problems starting to urinate or emptying all of the urine out of your bladder may be common. Your bladder may become too full, and you may leak urine from an overfull bladder.Medication sometimes helps when your bladder is not working correctly.  Some people with MS need to use an intermittent urinary catheter to manage bladder voiding.  Other options include using an indwelling catheter and in some instances a suprapubic  catheter.  Your doctor will work with you on identifying this issue and will prescribe the appropriate treatment for you.2,8

You should seek treatment whenever changes in your bladder habits keep you from going and doing what you want to do. While you may not be able to stop your bladder issues from continuing due to MS,you should be able to manage it comfortably without the embarrassment of leakage.3,8

The Importance of Following Doctor’s Orders

If you have been diagnosed with neurogenic bladder, it is important for you to follow your doctor’s orders on your care regimen. If your doctor prescribed and has trained you on self catherisation, be sure that you are self-cathing according to the prescribed number of times per day. People who do not follow their prescribed care regimen for continence care may be at a higher risk of developing more serious conditions like urinary tract infections, urinary retention, and dysfunctional bladder.8,9

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in people with MS, so you will need to learn to recognize the symptoms of a UTI that include: burning when you urinate, fever, low back pain on one side and a more frequent need to urinate.2,8


Please note that this information provided by BARD Medical is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a medical professional.  Information is as of 12/2014. Please check references for updated information.


  1. Neurogenic Bladder: When Nerve Damage Causes Bladder Problems – Urology Care Foundation: (2014)
  2. Multiple Sclerosis: National Institutes of Health (9/2012):
  3. National Association for Continence – Seeking Treatment (2014):
  4. Managing Progressive MS – National Multiple Sclerosis Society(10/2013):
  5. Cleveland Clinic, Diseases and Conditions – Neurogenic Bladder (11/2012),
  6. Sauerwein D. Urinary tract infections in patients with Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2002 Jun; 19(6):592-7.
  7. J Kesselring, G. Combi, A Thompson, Multiple Sclerosis , Recovery of Function and Neurorehabitation, Cambridge University Press 2010
  8. O Malik, A Donnelly, M Barnett; Fast Facts: Multiple Sclerosis, Health Press, Oxford UK, 2014
  9. D Newman, M Williams,; Review Intermittent Catherization and Current Best Practices, Urologic Nursing, Jan-Feb 2011, Volume 31, Number 1