Most people know that a spinal cord injury can impact mobility and movement, but did you know that it can also affect bladder function? Nurse practitioner Theresa Pileggi in Chester, PA, will take a closer look at how a spinal cord injury can lead to bladder problems and what you can do to manage them.
What Is A Spinal Cord Injury? What Are The Symptoms Of Bladder Dysfunction?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function. The most common cause of SCI is trauma, such as a car accident or a fall. Other causes include tumors, infection, and degenerative diseases. Symptoms of SCI depend on the location and severity of the injury. They can range from mild tingling and numbness to complete paralysis and loss of sensation. In some cases, SCI can also lead to bladder dysfunction.
Symptoms of bladder dysfunction after SCI include urinary incontinence, urinary frequency, and urinary urgency. The best way to manage these symptoms is to work with a doctor or other medical professional to create a customized treatment plan. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing bladder dysfunction after SCI. Treatment plans will vary depending on the individual’s symptoms and health needs. Some medications may be prescribed to help control urinary frequency and urgency.
Other times, nurse practitioner Theresa Pileggi says surgery may be necessary to correct anatomical abnormalities or block nerves causing problems. No matter what treatment plan is used, finding an approach that works for the individual and that helps them live everyday life as normally as possible is the goal.
How Does The Bladder Work, And How Does It Get Damaged After A Spinal Cord Injury?
The bladder is a muscle that stores urine until it is ready to be released. When the bladder is completely filled with fluid, it sends a signal to the brain telling the person to find a bathroom. The brain then sends a call back to the bladder, telling it to contract and release the urine. For people with SCI, this process is often disrupted.
The most common type of bladder dysfunction after SCI is called neurogenic bladder. This happens when the nerves that control the bladder are damaged. When this happens, the brain can no longer send signals to the bladder telling it when to contract and release urine. As a result, the individual may have difficulty emptying their bladder, or they may leak urine when they try to hold it in. In some cases, a neurogenic bladder can also lead to urinary tract infections.
The good news is that the treatments available can help people with neurogenic bladder manage their symptoms and reduce their risk of complications.
What Are Some Common Treatments For Bladder Dysfunction After A Spinal Cord Injury?
Theresa Pileggi says several treatments can be used to manage bladder dysfunction after SCI. The best approach for each individual will depend on their symptoms and health needs. Some standard therapies include medications, surgery, and electrical stimulation.
Medications can be used to help urinary control frequency and urinary urgency. In some cases, they may also be used to help prevent urinary tract infections. Surgery may be necessary to correct anatomical abnormalities or block nerves causing problems. Electrical stimulation is a treatment that uses electrical impulses to help the brain send signals to the bladder. This can help the individual have more control over when they urinate.
How Can People Living With Bladder Dysfunction After A Spinal Cord Injury Manage Their Day-To-Day Lives?
There are many ways that people living with bladder dysfunction after SCI can manage their day-to-day lives. One of the most important things is to find a treatment plan that works for them and that helps them control their symptoms. It is also essential to stay hydrated and to empty the bladder regularly. This can help prevent urinary tract infections.
People with SCI may also need catheters or other devices to empty their bladder. These devices can be inserted through the urethra or a small incision in the lower abdomen. In some cases, a permanent urinary diversion, such as a suprapubic catheter or an ileal conduit, may be necessary.
People with bladder dysfunction after SCI need to find an approach that works for them and helps them live as everyday life as normally as possible.
What Is The Prognosis For People Living With Bladder Dysfunction After A Spinal Cord Injury?
The prognosis for people living with bladder dysfunction after SCI is generally reasonable. With the right treatment plan, most people can manage their symptoms and live relatively everyday lives. Some complications, such as urinary tract infections or kidney damage, can occur. However, these complications are usually treatable and do not cause long-term problems.
Overall, nurse practitioner Theresa Pileggi says people with bladder dysfunction after SCI have a good prognosis and can expect to live relatively everyday lives as normally as possible with the proper treatment.
Bladder dysfunction after SCI is a common problem, but there are treatments available that can help people manage their symptoms. Finding an approach that works for the individual and helps them live as everyday life as possible is vital. With the right treatment plan, most people with bladder dysfunction after SCI have a good prognosis and can live everyday life as normally as possible.