Neurogenic bladder is a condition in which the bladder does not empty properly
due to spinal cord damage or a neurological disorder such as spina bifida.
Neurogenic bladder cannot be cured, but it
can be managed. Institute urologists have a high success rate of utilizing
effective treatments to help patients control their condition and lead
Neurogenic bladder rarely occurs by itself, but is usually related to a
larger condition, often the result of a malfunctioning spinal cord. The
spinal cord is the long nerve that runs down the back and connects the
brain with the body, allowing the brain to control bodily functions. When
the spinal cord is not communicating with the body properly, some bodily
functions may not work properly.
Neurogenic bladder can be caused by trauma or injury to the spinal cord,
tumors in the central nervous system, pelvic tumors or diseases such as
Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. However, neurogenic bladder
is closely associated with spina bifida because they often occur together.
And because spina bifida is a birth defect, neurogenic bladder is commonly
diagnosed at birth.
Spina bifida involves an abnormal development of the back bones, spinal
cord, surrounding nerves and the fluid-filled sac surrounding the spinal
cord. There are different forms of spina bifida, from mild to severe.
Any form can result in bladder problems.
Spina bifida must be treated by a neurologist and, usually, several other
types of doctors working together as a team. Institute pediatric urologists
are an important part of this team, working with your child’s other
physicians to treat the urological conditions caused by spina bifida.
One of the most common symptoms of neurogenic bladder is incontinence.
A young child with neurogenic bladder may have to wear diapers, but as
he or she grows older, we can help him or her manage the condition so
that, by the time your child begins school, diapers are usually no longer
Some children require surgery, such as the implantation of an artificial
sphincter or bladder augmentation. If surgery is the best treatment option
for your child, the Institute’s pediatric urologists are very experienced
in utilizing the most advanced,
most effective surgical techniques.
Usually, we can give the child the ability to control his or her bladder
with managed medication and occasional catheterization.
The news that your child has a congenital condition is daunting, but please
feel reassured that effective treatments do exist and have been successfully
used for years by families just like yours. In the vast majority of cases,
we are able to help children with neurogenic bladder lead active, healthy lives.