Spotlight on... MS and your bladder

It can feel a bit uncomfortable to speak about problems with your bladder but don't let that stop you getting support. Your healthcare professional won't be embarrassed and it could make a big difference to your quality of life.

A bladder problem caused by MS is called neurogenic bladder. Bladder problems such as urgency or not being able to empty the bladder fully can be caused by disruption in the nerves that control the muscles around the bladder.

When should I speak to someone about my bladder symptoms?

If the answer to any of the questions below is yes, you should think about speaking to someone in your healthcare team.

  • Do you get up more than one time a night to urinate?
  • Do you urinate more frequently than you used to?
  • Do you ever have to rush to the toilet to avoid having an accident?
  • Do you feel like you need to urinate and then can't?
  • Do you leak urine or have accidents?
  • Do you get urinary tract infections (UTIs)?

There are different treatment options available to help improve bladder symptoms, including:

  • Lifestyle changes, e.g. giving up smoking or reducing caffeine intake
  • Medications
  • Using catheters
  • Neuromodulation therapy
  • Surgical procedures

The right treatment option for you will depend on things like:

  • Your age, overall health and medical history
  • The type and severity of your symptoms
  • Your tolerance for certain drugs, procedures or therapies

Start regaining you independence

Problems with your bladder can hold you back and stop you doing the things you normally would. The good news is that bladder symptoms can be straightforward to treat. That means that you can get back to doing the things you enjoy without worrying about where the next toilet is.

Speak your your MS nurse or neurologist

If you feel like your bladder is impacting your quality of life you should speak to your health team. Don't be put off if you feel awkward, the benefit in the long run will outweigh any temporary embarrassment.