Bladder: Types and Symptoms

Types of neurogenic bladder

There are two kinds of neurogenic bladder: overactive (spastic) resulting in very frequent bladder emptying  and underactive (flaccid) which causes large volumes of urine to collect in the bladder without the person getting an urge to urinate.

The most common is a failure with storage; the less common, a failure with emptying. The location of lesions within the central nervous system primarily determines the kind of symptoms that are experienced. GPs and nurses can check how much urine is left in a bladder after a person urinates (post void residual) by doing a catheterisation or using a bladder scanner.

People with MS, who have underactive or overactive bladders, should periodically be evaluated by a urologist because of the risk of urinary tract infection and other urinary complications. Urologists can do a thorough bladder evaluation called a urodynamic study.

Symptoms of a neurogenic bladder

  • Frequency and urgency
  • Leaking or dribbling urine or loss of control (incontinence)
  • Change in the amount of urine
  • Urinary hesitancy (difficulty starting to pass urine)
  • Not being able to empty the bladder completely
  • Continued sensation of pressure on the bladder
  • Discomfort in the lower abdominal area
  • Nocturia (waking up frequently during the night to urinate)

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