Neurogenic Bladder -- Child

Neurogenic bladder is a problem with how the bladder works because of a nerve problem. Problems may include:

  • Causes

    Neurogenic bladder is caused by damage or injury to the nerves carrying messages between the bladder and the brain. The nerve damage makes it difficult to coordinate when the bladder should empty.

  • Definition

    Neurogenic bladder is a problem with how the bladder works because of a nerve problem. Problems may include:

    • Bladder empties too often.
    • Incontinence—bladder empties at the wrong time.
    • Urinary retention—unable to completely empty the urine.
    • Urine leaks out of the overfilled bladder.
    Bladder With Nerves, Female
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. The doctor may ask you to keep a diary of how often your child empties his bladder and other urinary habits. The doctor may recommend tests to rule out other conditions:

    • Urinalysis—test of the urine to look for evidence of infection or kidney problems
    • Blood tests—to look for evidence of kidney problems
    • Bladder function tests—to measure how well the muscles of the bladder respond to filling and emptying

    Tests may also be done to create images of the bladder and the rest of the urinary tract. Imaging tests may include:

    • X-rays
    • Ultrasound
      —to examine the kidneys, ureters, and/or bladder
    • CT scan
      —to make detailed images of the kidneys, ureters, and/or bladder
    • MRI scan
      —to create images of the brain and/or spinal cord

  • Prevention

    Most cases of neurogenic bladder cannot be prevented.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase the risk of neurogenic bladder include:


    • Birth defect that affects the spinal cord, such as
      spina bifida
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Tumors of the brain
      or spinal cord in the pelvic area
    • Infection of the brain or spinal cord

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:

    • Small amount of urine
    • Frequent urination
    • Dribbling urine
    • Inability to feel that the bladder is full
    • Straining during urination
    • Inability to urinate
    • Overflow of urine from a full bladder
    • Painful urination
    • Urinary tract infection
    • Kidney injury from urine backing up into the bladder
    • Kidney stones

    These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If your child has any of these symptoms, talk to the doctor.

  • Treatment

    Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include the following: