In a properly functioning nervous system, the brain tells the bladder muscles to hold or release urine. When the muscles and nerves don’t work as they should, there is pressure on and damage to the kidneys. The nerve damage that causes neurogenic bladders is typically due to another condition, such as spina bifida, spinal cord trauma, tumors in the central nervous system, or birth defects that impact the anus.
A neurogenic bladder may be diagnosed when nerve damage causes the bladder muscles to stop functioning properly. This can result in urine leakage (urinary incontinence) and urine retention, when the bladder cannot fully empty. Urinary tract infections can also occur.
While a neurogenic bladder cannot be cured, Duke pediatric urologists offer the most advanced treatment options. We help your child cope with the condition, manage the symptoms, prevent complications, and live a normal life.
What Causes Neurogenic Bladder
Duke Health treats children with neurogenic bladder at locations in Durham and Raleigh. Find one near you.
Testing for a Neurogenic Bladder
Our providers will compile your child’s medical history and complete a physical exam to identify the underlying cause of their neurogenic bladder. Testing is performed to assess your child’s bladder control and design the best treatment options.
Sound waves create detailed images of the bladder and kidneys.
A catheter is used to fill your child’s bladder with a salt water solution. Pressure measurements are taken as the bladder fills and empties during urination. This involves placing one catheter through your child’s urethra and another into the anus. If needed, this can be done under sedation.
This test combines urodynamic imaging and specialized X-rays. The bladder is filled with a safe, radiographic dye, which allows X-rays to be taken while the bladder fills and empties. The video helps your doctor locate vesicoureteral reflux or defects of the bladder’s muscle.
Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.
Why Choose Duke
Researching New Kinds of Care
Our pediatric urologists are part of ongoing research programs supported by the Centers for Disease Control to better understand and treat neurogenic bladder and the health issues that cause it, like spina bifida. This research helps our team put new findings into practice.
Nationally Recognized Surgical Care
If your child requires surgery to treat neurogenic bladder, Duke is one of just two hospitals in the U.S. verified as a Level I children’s surgery center by the American College of Surgeons. This designation recognizes our commitment to providing the highest-quality surgical care to young patients.
Experts in Treating Conditions Related to Neurogenic Bladder
Duke Health is a designated clinical care partner of the Spina Bifida Association, which recognizes hospitals and clinics that use best practices to care for people with spina bifida and associated diseases.