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Neurogenic Bladder after Spinal Cord Injury


What is neurogenic bladder?

Neurogenic bladder is a condition that causes loss of bladder function after a spinal cord injury (SCI). After a SCI, you may not be able to feel that your bladder is full. You also may not be able to stop your bladder from emptying. Your bladder may get overfull and stretch. Urine may back up into your kidneys.

Kidney, Ureters, Bladder

What can I do about neurogenic bladder?

Healthcare providers can teach you how to control your bladder function with a bladder management program. Bladder management programs help teach you ways to empty your bladder. You may need to urinate at specific times each day. Ask for more information about bladder management programs.

What types of bladder tests might I need?

  • Blood and urine tests will show how well your kidneys are working and if you have an infection.
  • An x-ray or ultrasound may show how much urine your bladder can hold. You may be given contrast dye to help the bladder show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

How is my bladder control treated?

Any of the following may help your bladder store urine until you are ready to urinate:

  • A balloon catheter is used to stretch the urinary sphincter. A piece of tissue from another part of your body may be used to make your bladder bigger. This will help your bladder hold a larger amount of urine.
  • The opening of your bladder may be cut to make it looser. A stent may be placed through the opening to keep it open.

How can I help control my bladder function?

Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Limit caffeine.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever and chills.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You feel burning when you urinate.
  • You have pain in your abdomen or lower back.
  • You have bladder spasms.
  • You see blood or clots in your urine.
  • You are urinating less than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have severe pain.
  • You cannot urinate.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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