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Bladder Dysfunction


In this article


Bladder symptoms occur in over 50% of people with MS. Common symptoms are:

  • Failure to store
  • Failure to empty
  • Combined failure to store/failure to empty

The Pyschosocial Implications of bladder dysfunction include:

  • Fear of drinking liquids
  • Anxiety over loss of control
  • Fear of leaving vicinity of bathroom
  • Embarrassment/shame; fear of incontinence during intercourse; increased fatigue due to interrupted sleep
  • Fear/embarrassment related to catheter use


Symptom: Failure to store


  • Urgency, frequency, incontinence, nocturia


  • Check for UTI; scheduled voiding; avoidance of diuretics
  • Anti-cholinergic/anti-muscarinic agents (oxybutynin, tolterodine , hyoscyamine sulfate, propantheline bromide; trospium chloride, solifenacin succinate)
  • Beta-3 adrenergic agonists agent (mirabegron)
  • Neurotoxin (onabotulinumtoxinA)

Symptom: Failure to empty


  • Urgency, hesitancy, double voiding, feelings of incomplete emptying


  • Check for UTI; intermittent self-catheterization (ISC); may require indwelling catheter (other options should be pursued first)

Symptom: Combined failure to store/failure to empty


  • Combination of the above interventions and medications

Resources for clinicians

Resources for patients


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