When Your Child Has Neurogenic Bladder

Your child has been diagnosed with neurogenic bladder. This is a problem with the nerves that carry signals to and from your child’s bladder. It can lead to trouble with holding or releasing urine. Neurogenic bladder can be managed. Your child’s health care provider will tell you more about options for your child.

What is neurogenic bladder?

Normally, nerves carry messages back and forth between the bladder and the brain. The nerves tell the brain when the bladder is full. The brain then sends signals, telling the bladder muscles to hold or release urine. With neurogenic bladder, the messages aren’t being sent or received properly. This can lead to problems with bladder control.

What causes neurogenic bladder?

Damage to nerves may be caused by the following:

What are the signs?

How is neurogenic bladder diagnosed?

Neurogenic bladder is often suspected in children with conditions or injuries affecting the brain or spinal cord. Your healthcare provider will ask you about your child’s health. A physical exam will also be done to look for problems and observe urination. To help get more information:

How is neurogenic bladder treated?

Treatment depends on the cause of your child’s neurogenic bladder and what type of voiding problem he or she has. Your child may need one or more of the following treatments:

Your child’s health care provider can discuss surgery with you, if it is an option.

What are the long-term cncerns?

Left untreated, children with this condition are likely to have bladder and kidney problems. Constipation and the inability to hold in stool may also be more likely. Steps can be taken to help with these problems. Your child’s healthcare provider can discuss your child’s condition with you and how your child is likely to progress long-term. Also, the condition may change over time so it will need to be monitored throughout your child’s lifetime.

Coping

Dealing with neurogenic bladder can be difficult for patients and families. Incontinence can also cause embarrassment and lead to self-esteem issues for your child. It’s vital for your child’s treatment and emotional development that you be supportive and patient. It takes work and time to learn how to best manage your child’s condition. Encourage your child’s success by seeing to it that he or she follows the treatment plan. In some cases, a psychological therapist can help the patient and family follow the treatment plan.

Learning more

If you have questions, talk to your child’s care team. Also, look for support materials in your local library or bookstore. These online resources can also be helpful: