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Bladder management

Bladder management

Spinal cord injury can affect our bladder control because messages no longer pass between the bladder muscles and the brain. 

Feeling worried or embarrassed about this is natural. Still, the right support can help you gain as much control over your bladder as possible, which is important for our self-esteem and avoiding infections.

Bladder management can look different from one person to the next because it depends on our individual needs, and there are several bladder-management methods to suit those. Knowing what is right for you begins with a journey of trying different approaches, a process healthcare professionals can support and guide you through. Getting this right is essential for both our self-esteem and health because poor bladder management can increase the risk of autonomic dysreflexia.

Getting bladder management right for someone with a spinal cord injury is really important. Often it’s a case of trial and error but there will be a right method for you

Debbie Green, our spinal cord injury nurse specialist

Bladder management methods include:

  • Catheters. A catheter is a flexible tube that’s used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag. It’s usually inserted into the bladder through the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your body.
  • Electrical stimulation of sacral nerves. This life-changing technique is known as sacral anterior root stimulation or the Brindley procedure. It can be used to restore the emptying of the bladder and bowel for some spinal cord injured people, removing the need for catheterisation. Watch a webinar about electrical stimulation of sacral nerves here.
  • Bladder botox. You might be familiar with botox as an anti-wrinkle treatment, but it can also be used to treat an overactive bladder. The injection paralyses part of the bladder muscle, allowing it to become more relaxed and stretchy so that you can hold on for longer before needing to empty your bladder.

Learn more about bladder management by reading our factsheetDOWNLOAD OUR bladder management fact sheet

You are not alone

Bladder management can sometimes be difficult to talk about, but it becomes much easier when you realise you are not alone in experiencing such problems.

Our SCI nurse specialists are here for you whether you need practical advice about bladder management or are looking to talk to someone about your mental health and wellbeing. Get in touch with the team here.

The Bladder & Bowel Community website also has plenty of information, stories of lived experience and support for all types of bladder and bowel problems.

If you’re looking for a service to deliver your bladder management products and medication straight to your door, SIA Healthcare can help. You’ll also get a free Radar key to access disabled toilets when you sign up.