bladder & bowel FAQs

This list of questions was put together by a MS specialist nurse but should be used as a guide only, please always consult a healthcare professional regarding any bladder symptoms.

Frequently asked questions

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is being unable to control urination.

Why is it important to empty my bladder?

If your bladder is not emptied regularly and completely remaining urine can cause a urinary tract infection and or kidney infection which can cause serious renal damage.

What are the signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection?

Strong offensive smelling urine
Blood in the urine
Burning sensation while passing urine
Fever/shivering
Vomiting
Bladder spasms/lower back pain.

Why is it important to drink plenty of fluids even though I have bladder problems?

It is hard to consider drinking adequate fluid if you are awakened up at night because of the need to pass urine or contending with urinary urgency, frequency, leaking or loss of bladder control.

However, not drinking enough can make your already existing symptoms worse. urine that is more concentrated from not drinking enough may cause bladder irritability, bladder spasm and growth of bacteria resulting in a urinary tract infection.

Drinking up to eight glasses a day, can help flush out bacteria, help with good kidney function and generally feeling better in yourself.

Are there other reasons for continence issues?

Continence problems may not only be due to MS but may occur because of childbirth or injury where the nerve pathways in the spinal cord may be damaged. In many cases changes may be temporary but if you have MS all changes in continence should be noted for discussion with your MS team.

Can urinary incontinence be treated?

The following can be very helpful:
Life style changes
Pelvic floor exercises
Bladder training
Medication
Surgery

Can I have Botox for my bladder symptoms?

Botox is a powerful neurotoxin which acts by temporally relaxing the overactive bladder muscle.

Botox is considered if previous medications for your bladder symptoms did not effectively manage your over active bladder symptoms and your quality of life is hindered by your symptoms.

Botox is delivered by injection into the bladder muscle under a procedure called a cystoscopy, which allows the surgeon to see the bladder wall.

The effects of the medication typically last for about three months at which time it may be considered to repeat the procedure.

What can I do if my urinary symptoms are affecting my sexual activity?

Most bladder issues can be managed effectively so that your sexual ability and enjoyment is not compromised. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider who will advise or refer you to a specialist clinic.

If you have a partner, it is crucial to discuss any worries with them so that mutual understanding can be achieved.

How do I cope with menstruation and bladder symptoms?

Menstruation can be an extra issue for woman experiencing bladder problems.

If you usually use tampons, then it is safe to continue using them.

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