Neurogenic Bladder Urologist - Dr. Angelo Gousse, MD
Neurogenic bladder is when you cannot control your bladder function because of a problem in the central nervous system. Remember that the bladder is the organ within your pelvis that stores urine and releases it from the body. The bladder wall has a series of muscle fibers responsible for controlling the urine in the bladder by sending signals to the brain and vice versa.
For this reason, a healthy central nervous system is vital for maintaining a stable bladder function. So if any portion of the central nervous system is damaged or diseased, it could jeopardize the bladder function significantly. That is when a neurogenic bladder is present.
For example, a problem with your nerves, brain, or spinal cord can make it difficult for your bladder muscles to hold urine in the bladder. If your brain cannot control these muscles, your bladder cannot hold urine inside until you get to a bathroom. Instead, urine will come out at awkward and unexpected times, creating embarrassment for you in public.
A physical injury or illness can damage the central nervous system and cause a neurogenic bladder condition. If this happens, your nerves cannot tell your muscles to tighten at the appropriate times. The only solution is to treat the injury or illness which caused the neurogenic bladder in the first place. Whether or not that can work depends on the severity of the injury or disease.
Three particular birth defects can cause neurogenic bladder: spina bifida, sacral agenesis, and cerebral palsy. These birth defects can cause lifelong consequences and symptoms, including neurogenic bladder. Doctors won’t always recognize these conditions right away until the child is a few years old, but an unstable bladder could be a dead giveaway.
There is not much anyone can do about birth defects. But for everyone else not affected by them, you have to take care of your spinal and brain health to help prevent neurogenic bladder. Any damage to your spinal cord or brain could cause neurogenic bladder as well as several other health problems. Even erectile dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, and stroke can cause neurogenic bladder.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A urologist is the most qualified doctor to diagnose neurogenic bladder. There are five ways to diagnose the condition: urodynamic studies, cystoscopy, X-rays, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Your urologist will choose the most appropriate diagnostic methods based on your symptoms and overall health status.
Some of these diagnostic methods are slightly invasive. But they are necessary because the urologist must study the bladder function carefully to see how well it can hold and manage urine flow. The diagnostic results will help your urologist develop a suitable treatment plan for your neurogenic bladder problem.
First and foremost, it is best to restore the health of your central nervous system as much as possible. If the brain and nerves can function normally, your bladder won’t be negatively affected anymore. However, some people cannot fully restore the health of their central nervous system due to severe injury or illness. So the next best solution is to simultaneously treat the bladder and central nervous system.
Neurologists and chiropractors can assist you with the neurological side of the condition. But to control the bladder symptoms, you must seek treatment from a urologist. They will likely recommend bladder augmentation to help the bladder store more urine and reduce internal pressure within the bladder. That should stop those frequent urges to urinate associated with a neurogenic bladder.
The most straightforward treatments are medications formulated to relax the bladder muscles and stimulate the nerves. The three top bladder relaxant medications are propantheline, oxybutynin, and tolterodine. They are traditionally used to treat overactive bladder symptoms, but the same symptoms come from a neurogenic bladder as well.
Focus on lifestyle changes too. Certain habits can overstimulate your central nervous system and cause problems with your bladder control, especially too much caffeine consumption. Frequent coffee drinks have a constant urge to urinate because their brain and nerves are overstressed. The simple act of losing weight can take pressure off the bladder too.
It is up to you to make the necessary lifestyle changes. As for the medications and surgical treatment options, you’ll need to seek help from a urologist and neurologist to assist with your bladder and central nervous system problems. A complete examination of your bladder and nerve function will help your doctors find treatments to control your bladder issues and the nerve issues responsible for them.
Do you believe you could have a neurogenic bladder? You may have a neurogenic bladder if you experience weak urination, frequent urination, or painful urination. The only way to know for sure is to make an appointment with a qualified urologist and request a urologic examination.
Dr. Angelo Gousse of Gousse Urology is one of the leading experts in neurogenic bladder diagnosis and treatment. Make an appointment today by calling (954) 362-2720.