Bladder Dysfunction

Bladder dysfunction in multiple sclerosis (MS) happens when lesions in the brain and/or spinal cord disrupt nerve signals going to the detrusor muscle (located in the wall of the bladder) and to the urinary sphincter (muscles surrounding the opening to the bladder). When the muscles of the bladder are not working correctly or in coordination with one another, symptoms such as increased frequency (having to go to the bathroom often), urgency (having to go to the bathroom quickly), retaining urine, and leaking urine, can occur.

Treatments for bladder problems include behavior modification techniques, such as staying hydrated and voiding on a schedule, as well as a number of medications aimed specifically at the type of dysfunction an individual is experiencing. Those with MS who are having bladder symptoms are strongly encouraged to consult with a urologist who is experienced with treating individuals with MS.

How MS Affects the Bladder

Behavior Modification, Assessments, and Interventions

Medications to Treat Bladder Issues

Updated in November 2023 by Dr. Barry Hendin, MSAA Chief Medical Officer

Original content by Marie A. Namey, APN, MSCN

Go to Introduction to Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Management

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