Spina Bifida

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina Bifida is a birth defect where the spine and the spinal cord don’t close properly. This defective closure can arise anywhere along the spine, from the neck to the rump bone and tail bones, but is most often found in the loin area. Surgical closure of the Spina Bifida is performed as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours of birth.

How Does Spina Bifida Affect Your Bladder and Bowel?

In Spina Bifida, neural impulses cannot reach their destination in a normal way and nerve functionality of the bladder is disturbed in 90% of cases. Most people with Spina Bifida have some effect on their bowel control as well. The impaired signals also lead to muscular deficiency with paralysis and reduced mobility, numbness, poor circulation in the legs, and a higher risk of bone fracture.

Effects on Your Bladder

If the spinal cord damage is partial, you experience a certain loss of the ability to control your muscles, but some signals will still come through. This allows for the possibility of intermittent catheterization (IC) for emptying the bladder, which can be a good solution for a longer, healthier and more independent life. Read more about it here.

Products for the bladder

Effects on Your Bowel

The spinal cord damage may cause limited control over the bowel and the sphincter muscles, which can result in bowel incontinence, and reduced bowel movement can cause constipation. It is common to experience both constipation and episodes of bowel leakage. Bowel irrigation may be an alternative to take control of your bowel. Read more about it here.

Bowel care products


The US-based Spina Bifida Association is focused on serving children and adults who live with Spina Bifida. The website offers resources, educational material, information on prevention and ways to get involved.

Spina Bifida Association

We hope this eBook will help you make an informed decision about the best catheter for you and/or your child:

For Healthcare Professionals