Weill Cornell Medicine Urology
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Neurogenic Bladder - Risks & Causes

Neurogenic Bladder - Risks & Causes

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The bladder is a muscular balloon that stores and empties urine out through the urine passage (urethra). At the bottom of the balloon, or where the urine comes out, is the urinary sphincter that, like a faucet, is supposed to stay closed until the person voluntarily chooses to let the urine out.

In order to store urine, the bladder is supposed to relax and stretch until it reaches capacity. The nerves in the bladder then send a signal or sensation of fullness to the brain that is time to empty the bladder. When a person elects to urinate, the brain then sends a signal to the bladder muscle to contract and push the urine out of the bladder coordinated with signals to the sphincter to open and let the urine out.

These muscles and nerves normally work together to hold urine until you are ready to empty it. Nerve signals go back and forth between the brain, bladder muscle and the sphincter muscles that control bladder storage and emptying. If these nerves are damaged by illness or injury, the muscles may not be able to tighten or relax at the right time as well as work in normal coordination.

A variety of different disorders of the nervous system can cause neurogenic bladder. These can include:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Encephalitis
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Birth defects of the spinal cord, such as spina bifida
  • Brain or spinal cord tumors
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Any damage or disorder of the nerves that supply the bladder such as neuropathy (nerve damage), Vitamin B12 deficiency as well as nerve damage from syphilis, pelvic surgery, herniated disk or spinal canal stenosis

References & Additional Reading for Neurogenic Bladder

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Dr. Alexis E. Te, M.D. | Cornell Urology

Alexis E. Te

M.D.

646.962.4811
646.962.4811
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Dr. Richard K. Lee, M.D. | Cornell Urology

Richard Lee

M.D., M.B.A.

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Brady Urologic Health Center
Dr. Bilal Chughtai, M.D.

Bilal Chughtai

M.D.

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The Iris Cantor Men’s Health Center

Tanaka J. Dune

MD, FACOG

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Alfred Winkler

MD, MBA

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