Neurogenic Bladder—Child
En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition
Neurogenic bladder is a problem with how the bladder works because of a nerve problem. Problems may include:

  • Bladder empties too often.
  • Incontinence—bladder empties at the wrong time.
  • Urinary retention—unable to completely empty the urine.
  • Urine leaks out of the overfilled bladder.
Bladder With Nerves, Female

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes
Neurogenic bladder is caused by damage or injury to the nerves carrying messages between the bladder and the brain. The nerve damage makes it difficult to coordinate when the bladder should empty.

Risk Factors
Factors that increase the risk of neurogenic bladder include:

  • Birth defect that affects the spinal cord, such as spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tumors of the brain or spinal cord in the pelvic area
  • Infection of the brain or spinal cord
Symptoms
Symptoms may include:

  • Small amount of urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Dribbling urine
  • Inability to feel that the bladder is full
  • Straining during urination
  • Inability to urinate
  • Overflow of urine from a full bladder
  • Painful urination
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Kidney injury from urine backing up into the bladder
  • Kidney stones
These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If your child has any of these symptoms, talk to the doctor.

Diagnosis
Your doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. The doctor may ask you to keep a diary of how often your child empties his bladder and other urinary habits. The doctor may recommend tests to rule out other conditions:

  • Urinalysis—test of the urine to look for evidence of infection or kidney problems
  • Blood tests—to look for evidence of kidney problems
  • Bladder function tests—to measure how well the muscles of the bladder respond to filling and emptying
Tests may also be done to create images of the bladder and the rest of the urinary tract. Imaging tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound —to examine the kidneys, ureters, and/or bladder
  • CT scan —to make detailed images of the kidneys, ureters, and/or bladder
  • MRI scan —to create images of the brain and/or spinal cord
Treatment
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include the following:

Medication
The doctor may recommend that your child take antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections.

Other medication may also be used to improve bladder function.

Catheters
A thin tube, called a catheter, can be inserted to empty your child’s bladder. You can learn to do this for your child, or a trained healthcare professional may do it.

Surgery
If other treatments fail, surgery may be an option. The exact type of surgery will depend on what is causing the problems. Some surgical options include enlarging the bladder or creating an artificial sphincter to control urine flow.

Prevention
Most cases of neurogenic bladder cannot be prevented.




RESOURCES:
National Association for Continence

Urology Care Foundation

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian/American Spinal Research Organization

References:
Neurogenic bladder. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1348/mainpageS1348P0.html. Accessed June 25, 2013.

Neurogenic bladder. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website. Available at: http://www.chw.org/display/PPF/DocID/22629/router.asp. Accessed June 25, 2013.

Neurogenic bladder. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=9. Accessed June 25, 2013.

Last Reviewed March 2014



Health Information Library content is provided by EBSCO Publishing, fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

 

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

 

To send comments or feedback to EBSCO's Editorial Team regarding the content please e-mail healthlibrarysupport@ebscohost.com.