A variety of neurological diseases and disorders, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, spina bifida, and hydrocephalus (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain) can cause problems with bladder control. There are also some individuals who do not have a neurological disease or injury but cannot empty their bladder or experience leakage due to abnormal nerve signals to the bladder. This is known as a neurogenic bladder. Because treatment and management options for individuals with neurological disorders cannot be generalized, below you will find links to information targeted to specific disease states.
When the brain and body have difficulty communicating, this causes control issues for many bodily functions, including urination and voiding. There are more treatment and management options today than ever before.
The location of the spinal injury has much to say about what sort of incontinence issues might arise. If the injury is above the sacral voiding center, the bladder will probably be overactive and have involuntary bladder contractions. If the injury is at or below the sacral spinal cord, there will be few, if any, bladder contractions.
Commonly in patients with Parkinson’s disease, the bladder becomes overactive and develops unwanted contractions that are difficult or impossible to stop. These often happen at a low volume of filling, resulting in the complaint of frequency and urgency. If the bladder contraction causing the sensation of urgency is too strong, leakage may occur, resulting in the complaint, “I can’t hold it.”