Neurogenic Bladder after Childhood Cancer


Certain types of cancer and cancer treatment can damage the urinary bladder. Here’s what you need to know to recognize the signs and symptoms of neurogenic bladder.

What Is Neurogenic Bladder?

This condition occurs when nerve damage affects the bladder's ability to fill, store, and empty urine. This can cause the bladder to empty partially, too often, or too quickly. Neurogenic bladder raises your risk for urinary tract infections and kidney damage.

Am I at Risk?

Survivors who have had tumors that involved the bladder, prostate, pelvis, or spine are at risk for neurogenic bladder. Also, those who had surgery or radiation in these areas

What Are the Symptoms of Neurogenic Bladder?

The sudden urge to urinate and the need to urinate often are symptoms of neurogenic bladder. Dribbling or straining during urinating, or not being able to urinate, may also occur.

A physician who specializes in the urinary tract (urologist) will evaluate you if you think you might have neurogenic bladder. Certain tests can check how well the bladder stores and empties urine.

What If I Have Neurogenic Bladder?

Treatment for neurogenic bladder varies per person. Medicine may be used to treat bladders that don't empty fully or that empty too often or too quickly. Surgery to make the bladder larger may be needed if medicines don't work.

Some people who can't empty their bladder all the way may need to remove urine by inserting a small tube (catheter) in the urethra several times per day. This helps prevent high pressure in the bladder that interferes with flow of urine from the ureters and kidneys.

When Should I Contact My Doctor?

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • You get up more times at night than usual to urinate.
  • Leakage of urine occurs.
  • You have fever or pain.
  • You find blood in your urine.

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