Neurogenic bladder means the bladder doesn’t work normally because of nerve damage. It causes a child to have problems with holding or releasing urine. The muscles and nerves of the urinary system work together to hold urine in the bladder and then release it at the right time. Nerves carry messages from the bladder to the brain. And they carry messages from the brain to the bladder muscles. These messages tell the bladder muscles either to tighten or release. With neurogenic bladder, the nerves don’t work normally.
In children a neurogenic bladder may be caused by a birth defect. Or it may happen later because of a different problem. The most common causes of neurogenic bladder in a child include:
A child is more at risk for neurogenic bladder if they have a spinal cord problem.
Symptoms can be a bit different for each child. They can include:
A child may also have:
The symptoms of neurogenic bladder can seem like other health conditions. Take your child to their healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. They will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
You may also be asked to keep a record of your child’s urine habits. You’ll need to write down your child’s daily urinary schedule. Note how often they go and any problems that occur.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Treatment may include:
In some cases, your child may need surgery. Your child’s healthcare provider will discuss surgery options with you if needed. Surgery may be done to:
Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits and possible side effects of all treatments.
Neurogenic bladder may cause:
Living with a neurogenic bladder can be hard. Urine leakage can cause embarrassment. It can lead to self-esteem issues for your child. It’s vital for your child’s treatment and emotional development that you are 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 they follow the treatment plan. In some cases, a psychotherapist can help the child and family follow the treatment plan.
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
The Division of Urology at Children's National Hospital offers expert care and advanced diagnostic testing in a family-centered environment. Discover more about the treatment we offer.
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At Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., our pediatric urologists provide comprehensive care for disorders affecting reproductive and urinary organs.