Many people with diabetes have problems with their bladder, sometimes caused by diabetes, sometimes unrelated. Your treatment will depend on what’s causing your bladder problems, but one common type of bladder dysfunction is diabetic neurogenic bladder, or ‘diabetic bladder’.

What is ‘diabetic bladder’?

Symptoms of a diabetic bladder can include frequent urination, incontinence, difficulty starting to pee, urinary tract infections, and a feeling of urgently needing to pee.

The underlying problem is that nerve damage (neuropathy) causes the bladder to lose the ability to sense when it is full.

Someone with a severely diabetic bladder might end up with a bladder that holds two or three times more than a healthy bladder.  

At first, this increased bladder capacity doesn’t seem to be a problem. But as time passes the bladder muscles become increasingly stretched out of shape and begin to lose tone, strength, and the ability to empty.

Treating ‘diabetic bladder’

To treat ‘diabetic bladder’, your bladder must be emptied regularly and completely, allowing it a chance to recover and to return to normal function. Most of the time, this is possible, but it may take some effort.

As your bladder recovers, you may be able to cath less frequently.

Your healthcare professional will guide you in this process, but with time, you may be able to get down to a single catheterization at bedtime, then perhaps every other day, then once a week.

Over time, many people find their bladder recovers and they eventually no longer need to cath. Some even regain the sensation of needing to pee, but you can still not depend on this sensation alone ­­– once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetic bladder, emptying your bladder at least every few waking hours must become a lifelong habit.

Always consult your healthcare professional concerning your medical condition.

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