Continence

How the urinary system is affected

A child with Spina Bifida is normally born with an undamaged urinary system however, over time, nerve damage will lead to a condition known as a neurogenic bladder, which causes involuntary emptying of the bladder.

Managing urinary incontinence

There are a number of techniques that are used to deal with this issue. Once again, the method/s employed will depend largely upon individual requirements and abilities.

One of the most common practices is intermittent catheterisation. This involves the insertion of a catheter into the bladder at regular intervals to drain away the urine before it leaks. Intermittent catheterisation is most often used in conjunction with incontinence products such as absorbent pads. For some individuals the catheter is inserted through the urethra, however others may have surgery that allows access to the bladder through other methods.

There have been several surgical intervention techniques used over the years. These include bladder augmentation, artificial sphincter, and stoma.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTI's are very common and need to be treated quickly. Diligent attention to hygiene can help to prevent infections. Some symptoms to look for are:

  • Cloudy, offensive smelling urine.
  • High temperature.
  • Wetting between catheterisation.
  • Kidney pain.

Bowel Incontinence

Many people with Spina Bifida have bowel problems due to nerve damage. Management is provided through a combination of methods.

Regular toileting, often aided by enemas or suppositories, is one of the most common techniques. Diet is also very important in bowel management. Too much dietary fibre, for example, can make management very difficult.

The overall aim of bowel management is to reduce incontinence with regular bowel evacuation and to achieve independence and confidence for the individual. There is excellent further information available at the following website:

http://www.spinabifida.org