Neurogenic Bladder

Also known as: neurogenic bladder dysfunction.

What is neurogenic bladder?

Neurogenic bladder means the bladder of a baby/child doesn't empty properly because of problems with the brain, spinal cord or nerves that control bladder function, essentially paralyzing it.

What causes neurogenic bladder?

In babies/children a neurogenic bladder typically results from either a birth defect or from damage occurring later in childhood. Common causes include Spina bifida (a congenital abnormality of the spinal cord), spinal injury (for example from a motor vehicle accident) or from central nervous system or pelvic tumors.

What are the symptoms of neurogenic bladder?

Symptoms generally include:

  • urinary incontinence
  • urine leakage (dribbling of urine)
  • loss of sensation of a full bladder with difficulty releasing urine
  • a need to urinate frequently
  • passing small urine volumes during voiding.

Symptoms may also include those of a urinary tract infection (uti) or kidney stones.

What are neurogenic bladder care options?

While there is no cure for a neurogenic bladder, multiple treatment options include:

  • “Timed urination” to prevent voiding accidents and protect the kidneys
  • Inserting a thin tube (catheter), intermittently or permanently (indwelling catheter) into the bladder to empty it.
  • Medications to help relax the bladder
  • Antibiotics to reduce the chance, or treat a urinary tract infection, insertion of an artificial cuff in the bladder to prevent leakage
  • In some cases surgery might be necessary

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: May 22, 2023 01:39 PM

Pediatric Urology

The Division of Pediatric Urology and Urologic Surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital specializes in the treatment and diagnosis of urological conditions.

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