Neurogenic bladder


Neurogenic bladder is a problem in which a person lacks bladder control due to a brain, spinal cord, or nerve condition.


Several muscles and nerves must work together for your bladder to hold urine until you're ready to empty it. Nerve messages go back and forth between the brain and the muscles that control bladder emptying. If these nerves are damaged by illness or injury, the muscles may not be able to tighten or relax at the right time.

Disorders of the central nervous system commonly cause neurogenic bladder. These can include:

Damage or disorders of the nerves that supply the bladder can also cause this condition. This can include:


The symptoms depend on the cause. They often include symptoms of urinary incontinence.

Symptoms of overactive bladder:

Symptoms of underactive bladder:


Medications may help manage your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend:

Newer drugs are also being studied.

Your doctor may refer you someone who has been trained to help people manage bladder problems. Skills or techniques you may learn include:

Learn to recognize the symptoms of urinary infections (UTIs), such as burning when you urinate, fever, low back pain on one side, and a more frequent need to urinate. Cranberry tablets are used to prevent UTIs.

Some people may need to use a urinary catheter. This is a thin tube that is inserted into your bladder:

Sometimes surgery is needed. Surgeries for neurogenic bladder include:

Support Groups

See: Incontinence resources

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you:


Wein AJ, Dmochowski RR. Neuromuscular dysfunction of the lower urinary tract. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, et al, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 65.

Review Date: 5/21/2012
Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.