Bladder dysfunction associated with Parkinson's
Bladder problems are not inevitable with Parkinson’s but are common, and become more prevalent as the disease advances.
Neurological changes in the area of the brain that controls micturition seem to be the main problem causing an overactive bladder. This is often seen in the later stages but can also occur early in the disease. Bladder symptoms in Parkinson’s are known as ‘non-motor symptoms’ or NMS and cause a lot of distress to the person.
Possible types of bladder dysfunction association with Parkinson’s
- Underactive bladder and UTIs - The loss of dopamine and the resulting interruption of signals from the brain, can mean the messages telling the bladder to retain or expel urine are disrupted, this can cause retention of urine and an increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Functional incontinence - Reduced mobility and bradykinesia can make it hard to get to the toilet on time. The symptom of ‘freezing’ can result in functional incontinence
- Nocturia or nocturnal enuresis - Common in Parkinson’s and can lead to sleep disruption
- Constipation - A common problem with Parkinson’s and bowel distention may obstruct the bladder and result in overflow dribbling incontinence
Clinical practice note. It is also important to remember that if a person with Parkinson’s does have a bladder problem it could be related to factors unrelated to their condition.
© Association for Continence Advice. CC BY-NC 4.0