The bladder function is controlled by the nervous system and can become impaired as a result of neurological disorder. In this case it is called a neurogenic bladder problem. The majority of patients with MS experience some form of bladder complaints. With normal voluntary urination, the bladder wall muscle contracts and the sphincter relaxes. Excessive irritability of the bladder wall can occur with MS. This often manifests in complaints such as needing to urinate frequently, increased urgency to urinate, needing to urinate at night and urine loss. The coordination between bladder wall and sphincter can also become impaired, which makes it difficult to start urinating and increases urinary retention and the risk of infections.
It's important to know that bladder complaints can vary greatly over time with MS. It's best to consult a GP or neurologist in the event of bladder complaints. They can determine if it needs to be referred to a urologist. The GP can take a urine sample to test for a bladder infection and treat if necessary. Symptoms of MS can sometimes look like bladder infection symptoms. If both occur at the same time, there's a chance the MS symptoms will be overlooked.