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How Spina Bifida and Myelomeningocele may affect your bladder

Dysfunctions in the spinal cord itself and the nerve roots can also occur. 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. Enclosure of the Spina Bifida is performed as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours of birth.
spina bifida full width users hand on wheel of wheelchair

Effects on your bladder

Nerve functionality of the bladder is disturbed in 90% of Spina Bifida cases, because neural impulses cannot reach their destination in a normal way. 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. Many people become confined to wheelchairs and can develop dislocated hip joints and misaligned legs and back.

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

Bladder and Bowel dysfunctions often come together

It's only recently that health care providers have begun to notice the connection between bladder and bowel dysfunction. The impact is huge for people with neurogenic diseases. In a lot of cases, bladder and bowel symptoms coexist, side by side and interact. So it's time for a more holistic approach for the benefit of patients.

Are you asking the right questions?

But there are challenges to overcome - for both the patient and the healthcare provider. Better care and a better quality of life are possible when bladder and bowel are treated together.

We've collected testimonies from those with bladder and bowel dysfunction related to their neurogenic diagnosis, who's lives have been improved and we explore the therapies that help to improve quality of life so that both patient and professional can reach for a better quality of life.


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

eBook: The Patient's guide to choosing the right catheter - Spina Bifida
We hope this eBook will help you make an informed decision about the best catheter for you and/or your child.