Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition which affects the nerves in the brain and the spinal cord, affecting over 100,000 people in the UK alone. MS can lead to a wide range of conditions including bladder and bowel problems, physical limitations, fatigue and cognitive impairment.
Multiple sclerosis and the bladder
Depending on where in the spine or brain the MS is affecting, bladder problems can occur. Studies have found that more than half of people with MS will experience bladder issues at some point in their life. For some this may result in needing to urinate more frequently or more urgently, but for others this may result in difficulty emptying the bladder, which is when a catheter may help.
Multiple sclerosis and catheter use
A recent study found that 1 in 4 (26%) MS sufferers are using or have used a catheter at some point in their life. Of those catheter users, 81% have previously used intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC) where a catheter is inserted into the urethra to drain the urine and then removed and disposed of after urination, 43% used an indwelling urinary catheter which remains in place and drains into a leg bag, drainage bag or is operated using a catheter valve, and approximately 8% had a suprapubic catheter which accesses the bladder through the abdomen. Catheter use is highest among those whose condition is advanced and where physical limitations are more significant.
Read more on the MS Trust website HERE.
Bladder problems can occur as a result of stress, childbirth, enlarged prostate (in men) and age. In addition, they can arise through conditions such as cerebral palsy, head injury, stroke and MS. If you have concerns about your bladder, visit your health professional or GP.