I have a neurological problem
Neurological conditions can affect the parts of the body’s nervous system that regulate urine storage (the bladder) and control when you pass urine (the sphincters).
For that reason, urinary incontinence is particularly common in people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Urinary incontinence can also develop after an infection of the brain, heavy metal poisoning or major pelvic surgery.
In particular, neurological problems can lead to:
In general, ‘neurogenic bladder’ is an umbrella term which is often used to refer to any urinary incontinence symptom that is associated with a neurological condition. Of course, the exact symptoms will differ from person to person, which is why it is important to discuss your situation with a healthcare professional. Find out more about the different types of incontinence here. Many treatments are effective at treating urinary incontinence in people with neurological problems. These include:
As always, it is important to discuss your treatment options with a healthcare professional, who can advise you on the benefits, risks and possible side-effects. Find out more about treatment options here.
If you believe that your urinary incontinence is related to a neurological condition, you might find the following tips useful:
- Go to your healthcare professional for regular assessments of both your incontinence symptoms and neurological condition.
- Ask your healthcare professional which tests and examinations are appropriate for your particular situation. For example, if you have spina bifida or a spinal cord injury, you might need an ultrasound scan of the kidneys. This discussion guide from the National Association for Continence provides a useful checklist to ensure you’ve asked all the important questions.
- Look out for unexplained changes in your neurological symptoms, such as confusion or spasms. This may be caused by an a worsening urinary issue.
- Find out if any additional support is available for your family members or carers.
- Listen to testimonials from other patients whose neurological conditions have led to incontinence challenges. Below you can find two useful videos from a patient suffering with multiple sclerosis and neurogenic bladder.
Video diary before bladder injections:
Video diary after bladder injections:
Urinary incontinence in neurological disease: assessment and management [Internet]. 2012[cited 6 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg148/ifp/chapter/Urinary-incontinence-related-to-a-neurological-condition.
Neurological conditions[Internet]. 2018[cited 6 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.nafc.org/neurological-conditions.
Neurogenic bladder [Internet]. 2018[cited 6 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.nafc.org/learning-library/#neurogenic-bladder.