What is neurogenic bladder?
In order for the bladder to work properly, the muscles and nerves of the bladder must work together. Nerves carry signals to and from the bladder and these signals control how the bladder works. If the nerves are damaged, either during pregnancy (spina bifida) or after birth by an accident, then the bladder can become neurogenic. The damage can cause the bladder to empty too quickly or too frequently, or it can not empty completely. Both can lead to children having urinary tract infections, being wet during the day and night and eventually cause kidney damage.
Why come to Children's Hospital Colorado for treatment of this condition?
The professionals at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado are dedicated to caring for kids. The members of the urology team are experts in pediatric urologic conditions and our surgeons are specialized in both pediatrics and urology. We strive to help patients and families feel educated about their condition, prepared for treatment and fully cared for by our urology team.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The most common symptoms of neurogenic bladder are:
- Urinary accidents and being wet during the day and night
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Kidney damage due to the high pressure in the bladder
- Kidney stones, which can cause pain and urinary tract infections
How do you diagnose it?
A complete medical history and physical exam will be performed by a urologist. A urine test may be required to rule out other problems. A group of urodynamics tests will be performed to evaluate the function of the bladder.
How is it treated?
There are many ways of treating patients with a neurogenic bladder and it will depend on a number of factors. Treatment may include:
- Passing a catheter into the bladder every 3 to 4 hours to drain urine out of the bladder
- A prophylactic antibiotic (low dose) to prevent infections
- Medications (oxybutinin) that can help control the activity of the bladder
- Surgery which is aimed to make the bladder big enough to hold urine for 3 to 4 hours without leaking
Who gets it, and can it be prevented?
It is very important for mothers to take folic acid during pregnancy to reduce the risk of their child being born with spina bifida. Children with spinal cord injuries or spinal cord abnormalities, such as spina bifida, are at risk for neurogenic bladders. After a child is born, the condition cannot be prevented, but the causes of neurogenic bladder can. Some of the effects of the disease can be prevented or reduced with aggressive management and if appropriate, surgical reconstruction.
When should I seek medical attention?
Children with neurogenic bladders need to be seen regularly by a multi-disciplinary healthcare team.