How does multiple sclerosis affect bladder function?
Some people with multiple sclerosis experience bladder and urinary problems as the disease progresses.
The most common bladder problems are urinary frequency (urinating often), urgency (needing to go suddenly and urgently), or incontinence (unable to hold urine).
Some people have difficulty urinating and can retains large volumes of urine in their bladders. This may require the use of a catheter. In this procedure, a catheter or drainage tube is temporarily inserted (by the patient or a caretaker) into the urethra several times a day to drain urine from the bladder. Surgery may be indicated in severe cases that do not respond to other treatments.
Bladder problems, especially the retention of urine in the bladder, can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs). These may require treatment with antibiotics. If someone experiences UTIs frequently, a preventive dose of antibiotics may be recommended to prevent future urinary tract infections.
Physicians have developed a "bladder pacemaker" that may help some people with urinary incontinence in preliminary trials. The pacemaker, which is surgically implanted, is controlled by a hand-held unit that allows the patient to electrically stimulate the nerves that control bladder function.
Reference: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)