Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury and Incontinence

The Urinary System Following a Spinal Cord Injury: The Nerves that are close to the end of the spinal cord are what determines how well the urinart system works. Spinal cord injuries typically do not influence how, or how the kidneys work. The changes that typically take place following a spinal cord injury (SCI) are how the sphincter muscles and bladder work together.

Following a spinal cord injury, messages are not able to travel typically between the sphincter muscles or bladder and the brain. Those infected generally are not able to feel when their bladder maybe full or they do not have the feeling or urge to urinate. The sphincter muscles and bladder muscles have to jointly work so those infected have control of when they need to urinate. These muscles allow the bladder to empty entirely.

A spinal cord injury at any level almost always can affect one’s bladder control.   This is because the injury may cause the urethra’s sphincter muscle to cooperate with the bladder, which results in urinary incontinence. There are several uses for all types of catheters in the recovery of spinal cord injuries.   First, an indwelling catheter can be inserted for proper drainage.   Also, an intermittent catheter can be used if a person is recovering at home and can be taught how to insert the device.   But there are some post-spinal cord injury surgical procedures that can help cure incontinence- sphincterotmy and Wallstent, both which help urine flow better.   However during recovery from these procedures, urination can become involuntary. For this, doctors recommend external catheters to help decrease wetting during the recovery period of these two procedures.

Be sure to follow up with your family doctor or get a referral to a specialist (urologist in this case) for professional help.


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