Why spina bifida can cause bladder problems

Spina bifida & bladder problems

Learn why people with spina bifida (SB) have difficulties controlling their bladder.

what is spina bifida

What is spina bifida (SB)?

Spina bifida means ‘split spine’. People with spina bifida were born with a spine and central nervous system that have not developed properly. The reason why this happens remains unclear. The severity of SB varies – in severe cases some of the spinal cord tissue penetrates the skin leaving it exposed outside the body.

Why does SB cause bladder problems?

As the bladder and bowel are controlled by the nerves in the lower part of the spinal cord, a spinal cord that is damaged will lead to bladder and/or bowel dysfunction in different degrees depending on the severity of the nerve damage. What kind of bladder problems? Most people with spina bifida will experience bladder dysfunction known as neurogenic bladder, which means they have difficulties controlling their bladder. A neurogenic bladder can lead to either overactive (reflex) bladder and or underactive (flaccid) bladder, which is why people with spina bifida need help to manage their bladder.

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