Several muscles and nerves must work together for the bladder to effectively hold urine until it is safe to be emptied. For some people, these muscles and nerves do not work properly, which can result in leaking urine, passing urine often, urine dribbles or urinary tract infections. Conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and Spina Bifida can affect the muscles and nerves causing neurogenic bladder. People who have had a stroke, spinal cord injury, major pelvic surgery, diabetes or other illnesses can also suffer from neurogenic bladder.
When the appropriate muscles and nerves are unable to work together to support bladder control, the bladder may not empty or fill correctly. In cases of overactive bladder (OAB), muscles are overactive and thereby squeeze more often than normal and before the bladder is full of urine. Sometimes the sphincter muscles are not strong enough and allow urine to pass prematurely, which is incontinence. In other people, the bladder muscle may be underactive, meaning it will not squeeze when it is filled with urine and is unable to empty fully or at all. The sphincter muscles around the urethra may also work improperly, remaining tight when trying to empty the bladder. Keep in mind that some people can experience both overactive and underactive bladder.