Which spinal cord lesions are associated with neurogenic bladder?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Bradley C Gill, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Diseases or injuries of the spinal cord between the pons and the sacral spinal cord also result in overactive bladder, often accompanied by urge incontinence. The bladder empties too frequently and the overall picture can be similar to that of a brain lesion, except that the external sphincter may paradoxically contract. If both the bladder and external sphincter become spastic at the same time, the affected individual will sense an overwhelming desire to urinate but only a small amount of urine may dribble out. This is termed detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia, as the bladder and the external sphincter are not in synergy. 

The causes of spinal cord injuries include physical trauma, tumors, ischemia, and multiple sclerosis (MS) as well as some other neurodegenerative conditions. Children born with myelomeningocele may have neurogenic bladder from birth or can develop it later upon growing due to tethering of the spinal cord.

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