Bladder issues such as frequent urination, incontinence, bladder urgency, or urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect up to 90 percent of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Urinary problems and MS can be frustrating, but they should be addressed quickly because untreated bladder dysfunction can lead to complications down the road, such as kidney stones.
One MyMSTeam user lamented, “Bladder issues keep me close to home.” Another said, “I’ve had some embarrassing accidents, but I have made the adjustments that I need to.”
To better understand the link between MS and bladder dysfunction, MyMSTeam talked to Dr. Barry Singer. Dr. Singer is the director and founder of The MS Center for Innovations in Care at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis. His award-winning MS website, MS Living Well, launched in 2007 and has been a valuable resource in more than 190 countries. He is also the host of the “MS Living Well Podcast,” available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).
In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms.
There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms.