Urology of Greater Atlanta

What Are The Symptoms of a Neurogenic Bladder?

Urology Of Greater Atlanta

What Is a Neurogenic Bladder?

Neurogenic bladder is a term used to describe a number of different urinary conditions where a person has bladder control problems due to a brain, spinal cord, or nerve problem. 

What Causes Neurogenic Bladder?

The urinary system is dependent on the function of the nerve messages between the brain and bladder muscles. The nerves communicate with the sphincter muscles which control bladder emptying and prevent urine leakage which is a common symptom of incontinence.

Diseases that affect your central nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis (MS) could be one possible cause. It could also be caused by birth defects in the brain or spinal cord such as spina bifida. According to the American Urological Association, millions of Americans have Neurogenic Bladder.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Neurogenic Bladder?

Neurogenic bladder symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Incontinence with Overactive Bladder (OAB)
  • Frequency in OAB
  • Urinary Retention with Underactive Bladder

Symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the type of nerve damage that is causing the condition. It’s even possible to have both an overactive and underactive bladder. This is especially true in those that have MS, stroke, or herpes zoster.

Urinary Tract Infection

This is usually the first symptom that identifies a problem. Patients with either an overactive or underactive bladder are likely to have repeated urinary tract infections. 

Incontinence with Overactive Bladder (OAB)

An overactive bladder is when the muscles that control the flow of urine contract more than normal. The contraction of the muscles may cause urine to leak before you are able to get to the bathroom, resulting in urinary incontinence. An overactive bladder usually brings on sudden and intense urges to empty your bladder. This may result in leaking urine or not. If you do leak urine, the amount can vary from just a few drops to a large volume. You may also leak urine while you sleep.

Frequency in OAB

OAB may also affect the frequency of your urge to use the bathroom. You may have this urge throughout both the day and the night. You may only urinate just a little each time you go. Many professionals would agree that high frequency is more than 8 times in a 24 hour period.

Urinary Retention with Underactive Bladder

Patients with an underactive bladder may notice that their bladder doesn’t empty as it should. They may notice only a little urine comes out each time they go to the bathroom. When you cannot empty your bladder fully this is also called urine retention. 

How is Neurogenic Bladder Diagnosed?

At Urology of Greater Atlanta, your health care provider may carry out one or more of the following diagnostic tests to determine whether you have a neurogenic bladder. 

  • Medical History
  • Physical Exam
  • Bladder Diary
  • Pad Test

How Do You Treat Neurogenic Bladder?

Neurogenic bladder treatment is designed to relieve the symptoms of your bladder problems. The treatment options will depend on varying factors such as the type and severity of your symptoms, your age, health, and the cause of your nerve damage. At Urology of Greater Atlanta, your doctor will first recommend some changes and exercises that you can try. 

They may include:

Dietary Changes

Limit your use of caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee, and sodas because they can irritate the bladder. Limiting your alcohol use will also help.

“Quick Flick” Exercises

You can delay the “gotta go feeling” by contracting your pelvic floor muscles. Squeeze and contract several times for this to work.

Behavioral Therapy

Prompted voiding can help urge incontinence and overflow incontinence. This may involve increasing the delay before going to the bathroom or scheduling times to go through the day.


Surgery is usually the last resort but may include urinary diversion or an artificial sphincter.

If you are experiencing incontinence symptoms then contact the board-certified urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta. They provide state-of-the-art testing to identify the issue causing your incontinence and personalized treatment plans to restore normal bladder function. 

Call the practice or schedule a consultation online today for expert incontinence treatments.

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