What is a Neurogenic Bladder: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment | Max Hospital

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Neurogenic Bladder: Commonly Asked Questions

By Dr. Vivek Vasudeo in Urology

Jun 27 , 2024 | 6 min read

Whether you're someone dealing with a neurogenic bladder or caring for someone who is, navigating the complexities of this disorder can be overwhelming. More often than not, people have a myriad of questions often about its symptoms, treatment options, and day-to-day management. To help clear the air, in this article, we answer some commonly asked questions about neurogenic bladder, providing clear and concise answers to help shed light on this condition, providing valuable insights for those affected by a neurogenic bladder.

Q. What is a Neurogenic Bladder?

A neurogenic bladder is a condition caused by dysfunction or damage of the nerves that control bladder function, by sending signals to the brain when the bladder is full, triggering the urge to urinate. In a neurogenic bladder, these nerve signals are disrupted, resulting in various urinary problems.

Q. What Causes a Neurogenic Bladder?

Neurogenic bladder can result from nerve damage or dysfunction caused by conditions such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, stroke, diabetes, congenital conditions, infections, tumors, medications, or other neurological disorders.

Q. What are the Symptoms of Neurogenic Bladder?

Symptoms of neurogenic bladder can include urinary incontinence (involuntary discharge), urinary retention (inability to empty the bladder completely), frequent urination, urgency to urinate, recurrent urinary tract infections, and difficulty starting or stopping urination.

Q. How is Neurogenic Bladder Diagnosed?

Neurogenic bladder is typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and various tests, such as urodynamic studies to assess bladder function, imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI to visualize the bladder and surrounding structures, blood and urine tests to check for signs of infection or other underlying conditions, and nerve function tests to evaluate the integrity of the nerves controlling bladder function.

Q. How is Neurogenic Bladder Treated?

Neurogenic bladder treatment depends on the underlying cause and severity of symptoms. The treatment may include:

  • Medications: Drugs can help manage symptoms such as urinary incontinence or overactive bladder.
  • Catheterization: Intermittent or indwelling catheterization can help empty the bladder if urinary retention is an issue.
  • Pelvic floor exercises: Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can improve bladder control.
  • Behavioral therapy: Techniques like bladder training can help regulate urination patterns.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgical procedures may be necessary to correct anatomical issues like Augmentation of a small bladder or implant devices to modulate nerve activity Sacral neuro modulation.
  • Management of underlying conditions: Treating conditions such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes can help alleviate neurogenic bladder symptoms.
  • Regular monitoring: Close monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare provider are essential to adjust treatment as needed and prevent complications.

Q. Can a Neurogenic Bladder be Cured?

Neurogenic bladder cannot always be completely cured, but management options are available to help improve symptoms and quality of life.

Q. What Complications are Related to Neurogenic Bladder?

Complications related to neurogenic bladder can include:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs): Due to incomplete emptying of the bladder, stagnant urine can lead to bacterial growth and recurrent UTIs.
  • Kidney damage: Urine retention or reflux (backflow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys) can cause pressure on the kidneys, leading to kidney damage or urinary tract stones.
  • Bladder stones: Stagnant urine in the bladder can result in the formation of bladder stones.
  • Autonomic dysreflexia: This potentially life-threatening condition can occur in individuals with spinal cord injury and can result from an overactive autonomic nervous system response to bladder distension or other stimuli.
  • Hydronephrosis: Swelling of the kidneys due to the backup of urine from the bladder can occur, leading to kidney dysfunction.

Q. How to Prevent a Neurogenic Bladder?

Preventing a neurogenic bladder largely depends on avoiding or managing conditions that can lead to nerve damage or dysfunction. While some causes, like congenital conditions or accidents, may not be preventable, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of certain contributing factors:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent conditions like diabetes and obesity, which can contribute to nerve damage.
  • Practice safe behavior: Take precautions to avoid accidents and injuries that could lead to spinal cord injury, such as wearing seat belts in vehicles, using proper safety equipment during sports, and preventing falls, especially in older adults.
  • Manage chronic conditions: If you have conditions like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, work closely with your healthcare provider to manage them effectively and minimize complications.
  • Avoid substance abuse: Excessive alcohol consumption or drug abuse can increase the risk of accidents and injuries that could lead to neurogenic bladder.
  • Practice good bladder habits: Maintain regular urination habits, avoid holding urine for prolonged periods, and practice good hygiene to prevent urinary tract infections, which can exacerbate neurogenic bladder symptoms.

Q. Can a Neurogenic Bladder Heal on its Own?

In some cases, a neurogenic bladder may improve or resolve spontaneously over time, especially if the underlying cause is temporary or reversible. For example, if the neurogenic bladder is due to a urinary tract infection or medication side effect, treating the infection or discontinuing the medication may lead to improvement in bladder function. However, in many cases where the neurogenic bladder is caused by permanent nerve damage, the condition may not heal on its own.

Q. When to Consult a Doctor for a Neurogenic Bladder?

It's important to consult a doctor if you experience any symptoms of a neurogenic bladder. Additionally, if you have a known neurological condition or have experienced a spinal cord injury, it's important to discuss any changes in bladder function with your healthcare provider.

Q. Which Specialist Treats a Neurogenic Bladder?

A neurogenic bladder is typically treated by a healthcare team that may include various specialists depending on the underlying cause and individual needs. Some of the specialists involved in the management of neurogenic bladder include:

  • Urologist: Urologists are surgeons who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the urinary tract, including neurogenic bladder. They may perform diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, and recommend surgical interventions when necessary.
  • Neurologist: Neurologists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system, including conditions that can lead to neurogenic bladder, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injury.
  • Physiatrist: Physiatrists are doctors who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation and may coordinate comprehensive treatment plans for individuals with neurogenic bladder, particularly those with spinal cord injury or other physical disabilities.
  • Physical therapist: Physical therapists can help individuals with neurogenic bladder strengthen pelvic floor muscles, improve bladder control, and address mobility issues that may affect bladder function.
  • Occupational therapist: Occupational therapists can assist individuals with neurogenic bladder in developing strategies to manage bladder function within the context of daily activities and routines.
  • Primary care physician: Primary care physicians may play a role in coordinating care, monitoring overall health, and providing referrals to specialists as needed.

Collaboration among these specialists is essential to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to the individual's needs and optimize bladder function and quality of life.

 Q. What is the Life Expectancy of Someone with a Neurogenic Bladder?

The life expectancy of someone with a neurogenic bladder varies depending on the underlying cause of the condition, the severity of symptoms, the presence of other medical conditions, and the effectiveness of treatment and management strategies. While neurogenic bladder itself is not a life-threatening condition, its complications can impact overall health and life expectancy.

Q. Can Physical Therapy Help Neurogenic Bladder?

Yes, physical therapy can play a beneficial role in managing neurogenic bladder. Physical therapists with expertise in pelvic floor rehabilitation can provide specialized interventions to improve bladder function and control.


If you're experiencing symptoms of a neurogenic bladder or have concerns about your bladder function, seeking expert medical care is crucial for timely diagnosis and effective management. At Max Hospitals, our team of specialists, including urologists, neurologists, physiatrists, and rehabilitation nurses, is dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate care tailored to your individual needs. With state-of-the-art facilities like urodynamics, 3T MRI in vinci surgical robot and a multidisciplinary approach, we prioritize your well-being and strive to optimize bladder function, alleviate symptoms, and improve your quality of life. Don't hesitate to take the first step towards better bladder health—consult with a specialist at Max Hospitals today.