Multiple Sclerosis - Bladder Symptoms
Advice for people with MS and bladder symptoms
The way we stay continent is a very complex process that allows us to voluntarily delay passing urine until we are in a suitable place. This process can sometimes be affected by Multiple Sclerosis and some common symptoms include:
- Urgency “ a sudden desire to pass urine quickly”
- Frequency “the need to pass urine more than 8 times a day”
- Nocturia “getting up at night more than once”
- Urinary incontinence “leakage of urine”
- Hesitancy “the need to pass urine but difficulty starting off the stream of urine”
- UTI “urinary tract infections”
What can you do?
First of all, mention your symptoms to your nurse or doctor so they can help you.
Reducing caffeine, tea, coffee, cola, chocolate and carbonated drinks.
Making sure you aim to drink 1.5-2 litres daily of fluid (Limiting your drinks can make the symptoms worse).
If you get up at night to pass urine, reducing your fluid intake after 7pm in anticipation of going to bed.
Making sure you empty your bladder before bed.
Taking time to pass urine and trying not to rush.
Managing constipation if this is a problem as a full bowel can affect your bladder and make symptoms worse. (You should mention this to your doctor or nurse and obtain a leaflet about constipation from the MS Nurse).
Being aware of your normal pattern so that you can detect a change, ie stinging, burning or offensive smelling cloudy urine. A sudden increase in your bladder symptoms could be a sign of infection.
If you have frequent urine infections it is important to let your GP know and to have this confirmed through urine testing so that you can get the correct antibiotic treatment. (Remember bladder infections respond to different antibiotics and an infection can last longer if you have the incorrect antibiotic).
Perform pelvic floor exercises if you have problems with leaking when sneezing, coughing or lifting objects (obtain a leaflet from the MS Nurse on pelvic floor exercises)
We will usually do a bladder ultrasound to detect if you have emptied your bladder sufficiently.
Depending on the result, treatment may be medication or teaching you how to empty your bladder more efficiently. This could be by teaching you simple methods to try yourself or by the use of intermittent self catheterization (ISC) or a bladder stimulator. This is a simple battery operated device placed on the abdomen whilst passing urine.
Other organizations who can help:
Incontact 0870 770 3246
The continence Foundation 0845 345 0165
MS Trust 01462 476700
MS Society UK 020 8438 0700
MS Society Cymbru Wales 029 2079 6676
Radar 0870 7250 3222
- Last Updated:01 November 2019
- Review Date:01 November 2022
- Author:Fiona Lynch
The way we stay continent is a very complex process that allows us to voluntarily delay passing urine until we are in a suitable place. This process can sometimes be affected by Multiple Sclerosis