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Bladder dysfunction associated with Multiple Sclerosis

Urinary problems are a common problem for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Read this article to find out more.
© Association for Continence Advice. CC BY-NC 4.0

Urinary problems are a common problem for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterised by demyelinated areas (plaques) that can occur anywhere in the central nervous system; pathways to and from the bladder may be disrupted at any level.

Did you know? Bladder function also changes as the disease progresses or with a relapse. For many it seems to correlate with their lower limb function.

Possible types of bladder dysfunction associated with MS

  • Overactive bladder – urgency, frequency, nocturia and urge incontinence (storage problems)
  • Hypotonic bladder/atonic bladder – bladder emptying problems
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) – particularly a problem if there is residual urine in the bladder. UTIs often makes the multiple sclerosis symptoms worse
  • Detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia
  • Underactive bladder and overactive bladder at the same time – unable to void fully but also urgency and frequency symptoms

As you can see it can be complicated and can change with the disease. In the video in step 1.8 ‘Anne’, who has MS, talks about how she copes with having both an underactive bladder and an overactive bladder at the same time.

© Association for Continence Advice. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults

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