Do you want to skip to content? Skip to content
Convatec Group Contact Us Brasil Brasil United States (English) United States (English) Estados Unidos (Español) Estados Unidos (Español) Argentina Argentina Canada (English) Canada (English) Canada (Français) Canada (Français) Chile Chile Colombia Colombia Ecuador Ecuador México México Perú Perú Belize Belize Guyana Guyana Jamaica Jamaica Venezuela Venezuela Costa Rica Costa Rica Curaçao Curaçao República Dominicana República Dominicana Guatemala Guatemala Honduras Honduras Nicaragua Nicaragua Panamá Panamá Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Suriname Suriname El Salvador El Salvador United Kingdom United Kingdom France France Deutschland Deutschland Italia Italia Україна Україна België België Česko Česko Danmark Danmark España España Ireland Ireland Nederland Nederland Norge Norge Österreich Österreich Polska Polska Schweiz (Deutsch) Schweiz (Deutsch) Slovensko Slovensko Suisse (Français) Suisse (Français) Suomi Suomi Sverige Sverige Türkiye Türkiye Ελλάδα Ελλάδα Россия Россия Bosna i Hercegovina Bosna i Hercegovina България България Eesti Eesti Hrvatska Hrvatska Magyarország Magyarország Ísland Ísland Lietuva Lietuva Latvija Latvija Северна Македонија Северна Македонија Malta Malta România România Srbija Srbija Slovenija Slovenija الإمارات العربية المتحدة الإمارات العربية المتحدة البحرين البحرين مصر مصر ישראל ישראל ایران ایران الأردن الأردن عُمان عُمان قطر قطر پاکستان پاکستان لبنان لبنان الكويت الكويت المملكة العربية السعودية المملكة العربية السعودية Suid-Afrika Suid-Afrika العراق العراق New Zealand New Zealand 日本 日本 Australia Australia India India Malaysia Malaysia Singapore Singapore 대한민국 대한민국 中国大陆 中国大陆 中国台湾 中国台湾 ไทย ไทย Indonesia Indonesia Việt Nam Việt Nam Philippines Philippines Hong Kong SAR China (English) Hong Kong SAR China (English) 中国香港特别行政区 (中文(简体,中国香港特别行政区)) 中国香港特别行政区 (中文(简体,中国香港特别行政区))
False /oidc-signin/en-au/ Convatec Group Contact Us Brasil Brasil United States (English) United States (English) Estados Unidos (Español) Estados Unidos (Español) Argentina Argentina Canada (English) Canada (English) Canada (Français) Canada (Français) Chile Chile Colombia Colombia Ecuador Ecuador México México Perú Perú Belize Belize Guyana Guyana Jamaica Jamaica Venezuela Venezuela Costa Rica Costa Rica Curaçao Curaçao República Dominicana República Dominicana Guatemala Guatemala Honduras Honduras Nicaragua Nicaragua Panamá Panamá Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Suriname Suriname El Salvador El Salvador United Kingdom United Kingdom France France Deutschland Deutschland Italia Italia Україна Україна België België Česko Česko Danmark Danmark España España Ireland Ireland Nederland Nederland Norge Norge Österreich Österreich Polska Polska Schweiz (Deutsch) Schweiz (Deutsch) Slovensko Slovensko Suisse (Français) Suisse (Français) Suomi Suomi Sverige Sverige Türkiye Türkiye Ελλάδα Ελλάδα Россия Россия Bosna i Hercegovina Bosna i Hercegovina България България Eesti Eesti Hrvatska Hrvatska Magyarország Magyarország Ísland Ísland Lietuva Lietuva Latvija Latvija Северна Македонија Северна Македонија Malta Malta România România Srbija Srbija Slovenija Slovenija الإمارات العربية المتحدة الإمارات العربية المتحدة البحرين البحرين مصر مصر ישראל ישראל ایران ایران الأردن الأردن عُمان عُمان قطر قطر پاکستان پاکستان لبنان لبنان الكويت الكويت المملكة العربية السعودية المملكة العربية السعودية Suid-Afrika Suid-Afrika العراق العراق New Zealand New Zealand 日本 日本 Australia Australia India India Malaysia Malaysia Singapore Singapore 대한민국 대한민국 中国大陆 中国大陆 中国台湾 中国台湾 ไทย ไทย Indonesia Indonesia Việt Nam Việt Nam Philippines Philippines Hong Kong SAR China (English) Hong Kong SAR China (English) 中国香港特别行政区 (中文(简体,中国香港特别行政区)) 中国香港特别行政区 (中文(简体,中国香港特别行政区))

From impact on your bladder to lifestyle

Spinal cord injuries: what to expect ;

Spinal cord injuries: what to expect

The spine is a vital communication highway that makes it possible for signals to be transmitted all around our body. Damage to the spinal cord can disrupt that communication, affecting the functioning of our bodies, routines and lifestyles.  One common outcome of SCIs is disruption to our body’s capacity to properly communicate with the bladder, leading to some level of bladder dysfunction[15]

What does my spinal cord have to do with my bladder?

80% of people experience a lack of bladder control after spinal cord injuries (SCIs)[16]. This is because the spinal cord plays a pivotal role in carrying signals that control your bladder muscles from your brain. As one example, when your bladder is full, stretch receptors in its walls send signals to the spinal cord, which then processes this information and initiates the reflex to empty the bladder.

Can any spinal cord injury influence urinary continence?

The location and severity of an injury to the spine will most likely determine whether or not, and how much, it affects your bladder. The nerves that control the bladder are located in the sacral region of the spinal cord, which is in the lower back. Injuries to the thoracic and lumbar regions, higher up the back - above T12 - are more likely to cause bladder dysfunction as messages to and from the bladder need to pass through here before reaching the sacral region[17].

Are there different types of bladder dysfunction after a spinal cord injury?

The short answer is, yes. People experience varying levels of bladder dysfunction after an SCI, each dependent on the location and severity of the injury. 

  • Reflexic Bladder is usually associated with injuries at or above the sixth thoracic vertebra (T6), leading to reflexive bladder emptying[18].
  • Areflexic Flaccid Bladder, common in injuries below T6, is a lack of both voluntary and involuntary bladder control due to an underactive detrusor muscle and weak sphincters[19].
  • Neurogenic Bladder is a term that covers a range of bladder dysfunctions resulting from a spectrum of neurological conditions, including spinal cord injuries[20]

After a spinal cord injury, how can you treat urinary incontinence?

Managing bladder control issues after a SCI can feel overwhelming, but there are effective strategies to help individuals regain a sense of autonomy and control that improve their quality of life.

Perhaps the most common approach is catheterisation. This is where the bladder is emptied using a catheter, which can be self-administered or with assistance by a caregiver[21]. In some instances the catheter is used to drain the bladder, and then removed rather than being left in, which is known as intermittent catheterisation. Fortunately, intermittent catheters are as varied as we are, and so you’ll be able to find ones that are right for your size and level of mobility.

In summary

When it comes to bladder control, while the disruption SCIs can bring to this essential part of our daily lives can feel overwhelming and demoralising, there is an amazing array of options out there to help, all backed up by a huge wealth of information and teams ready to guide you on your path to happier, more confident bladder management.

To give you an idea of how intermittent catheterisation can help alleviate some of the impact of a spinal cord injury, you can check out some catheter options here. It could be the information you, or someone you know, really need to get your journey started.

 

[15] NIH. (2023, January 20) Spinal Cord Injury. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/spinal-cord-injury

[16] Leslie, S. W., Tadi, P. & Tayyeb, M. (2023, July 4). Neurogenic Bladder and Neurogenic Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction. National Centre for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560617/

[17] National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2023, January 23)). Spinal Cord Injury.  https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/spinal-cord-injury

[18] Shepherd Centre. (n. d.) Bladder Function After SCI. My Shepherd Connection. https://www.myshepherdconnection.org/sci/bladder-care/function-after-sci

[19] Hsieh J, Ethans K, Benton B, Burns A, Welk B, Loh E, McIntyre A, Teasell R (2020). Bladder Management Following Spinal Cord Injury. In Eng JJ, Teasell RW, Miller WC, Wolfe DL, Townson AF, Hsieh JTC, Noonan VK, Loh E, Sproule S, McIntyre A, Queree M. (editors). Spinal Cord Injury Research Evidence. Version 7.0: p. 1-274.

[20] University of Michigan (n. d.) Neurogenic Bladder. University of Michigan Health. https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/adult-urology/neurogenic-bladder

[21] Convatec (n. d.) Why Do I need to use an intermittent catheter. Gentlecath. https://www.gentlecath.com/au/answers/why-do-i-need-to-use-an-intermittent-catheter/

Blogs

See all

18/1/2024

The First Six Months of Post-Op with Heidz and Dan

Podcasts

The First Six Months of Post-Op with Heidz and Dan

Read more

18/1/2024

a woman sitting in a chair

Intermittent Catheters: The Ideal Length of time to leave your IC in

For individuals who have urinary complications their bladders naturally, intermittent catheterisation plays a vital role in long-term bladder management.

Read more

7/11/2023

Blog

Intermittent Catheterisation for Spinal Cord Injury

Intermittent Catheterisation for Spinal Cord Injury: What You Need to Know

When we experience damage to the spinal cord, this can disrupt the communication between our brain and various parts of our body, including the bladder.

Read more

18/10/2023

Blog

Introducing Intermittent Catheters: Key Facts for Beginners

Introducing Intermittent Catheters: Key Facts for Beginners

An ‘intermittent catheter’ is a specially designed medical device engineered to facilitate the temporary and periodic drainage of urine from the bladder...

Read more
See all

You are leaving convatec.com

This Internet site may provide links or references to other sites but Convatec have no responsibility for the content of such other sites and shall not be liable for any damages or injury arising from that content. Any links to other sites are provided as merely a convenience to the users of this Internet site.

Do you wish to continue?