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Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually apparent at birth – it is a type of neural tube defect.

Spina bifida can happen anywhere along the spine if the neural tube does not close all the way. When this occurs, the backbone that protects the spinal cord doesn’t form and close as it should, often resulting in damage to the spinal cord and nerves. This can directly impact bladder functionality and its ability to properly store and/or empty urine.

While we don’t know what causes Spina Bifida and symptoms can range from mild to severe, we do know most people affected by Spina Bifida lead full, productive lives.

Living with Spina Bifida & Treatment Options

Spina bifida treatment depends on the severity of the condition and specific type.

In babies with myelomeningocele, one of the more severe types of spina bifida, irreparable nerve
damage has likely already occurred and ongoing care from a multispecialty team of surgeons, physicians and therapists is usually needed. Babies with myelomeningocele may need more surgery for a variety of complications. Treatment for complications — such as weak legs, bladder and bowel problems, or hydrocephalus — typically begins soon after birth.

Depending on the severity of spina bifida and the complications, treatment options may include:

  • Walking and mobility aids. Some babies may start exercises to prepare their legs for walking with braces or crutches when they're older. Some children may need walkers or a wheelchair.
  • Bowel management may include oral medications, suppositories, enemas, surgery or a combination of these approaches.
  • Bladder management may include medications, using intermittent catheters to empty the bladder, surgery or a combination of treatments.
  • Surgery options.

Whatever the issue — orthopedic complications, tethered spinal cord, GI issues, skin problems or others — most spina bifida complications can be treated or at least managed to improve quality of life.

A specialist in pediatric urology with experience in evaluating or performing surgery on children with spina bifida may offer the most effective management options.

It is most important that parents and other caregivers are a key part of the team. They can learn how to help manage a child's condition and how to encourage and support the child emotionally and socially.

Enroll in me+™ or Request Product Samples

The me+™ support program offers tools to help make life as a catheter user completely your own. Enroll in me+™ or request free product samples. Experience the latest technology and discover answers to the most commonly asked cathing questions.

Adjusting to cathing can be tough, with a range of practical, physical and emotional challenges. You don’t have to figure it out alone.

Speak to one of our friendly product specialists today.

Call 0800 587 7560 (Monday - Friday: 9AM - 5PM).

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