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Bladder Problems and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)


At Urology Austin, we see many patients who suffer from the bladder consequences from multiple sclerosis, or MS. That’s because the bladder and surrounding muscles are controlled by the central nervous system, which is the primary target of MS.

Common bladder dysfunction symptoms are:

  • Urgency: the intense feeling to urinate immediately
  • Frequency: visiting the bathroom as often as every 15 minutes or more
  • Nocturia: the need to urinate repeatedly at night, causing restlessness and disturbed sleep patterns
  • Incontinence: urine leakage or loss of bladder control
  • Hesitancy: difficulty initiating the flow of urine
  • Retention: when the bladder retains urine and never fully empties

Bladder Dysfunction: Difficult to talk about, but important to treat

Bladder dysfunction may be embarrassing and isolating for some, and if left untreated can lead to additional problems like infections and even kidney damage or failure. A urologist can best help you address these sensitive issues.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options for MS patients:

  • Dietary changes: limit caffeinated drinks, like coffee, tea, and soda, as well as alcoholic beverages…and avoid spicy foods (known bladder irritants)
  • Behavioral changes: drink water/liquids at designated times and schedule bathroom visits accordingly.
  • Medications: ask your doctor about prescription medications to try.
  • Mechanical aids: catheterization, a tiny tube inserted into the bladder to eliminate urine, or an adhesive patch placed over the bladder opening that can prevent leakage.

Surgery may ultimately be the best option for some MS patients. Huge advancements in this area have been made including one procedure that involves implanting a sacral nerve stimulator in the spinal cord. Similar to a heart pacemaker, the device stimulates the sacral nerves impaired by MS and reminds the body it is time to urinate.

If you are suffering from these or any other unusual bladder symptoms, please contact us for an appointment.

(Adapted from Everyday Health)

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