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Neurogenic Bladder—Child

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Neurogenic Bladder—Child

(Bladder, Neurogenic—Child; Neurogenic Incontinence—Child; Incontinence, Neurogenic—Child)


A neurogenic bladder does not work properly due to a nerve problem. The bladder holds urine that flows from the kidneys until a person is ready to urinate (pee).

Bladder With Nerves, Female.

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Neurogenic bladder is caused by damage or injury to the nerves moving messages between the bladder and the brain. The nerve damage makes it hard for the brain to know when the bladder should drain.

Risk Factors

Things that raise a child's chance of neurogenic bladder include:

  • Problems at birth that affect the spinal cord, such as spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tumors of the brain or spinal cord in the pelvic area
  • Infection of the brain or spinal cord


A child may:

  • Have small amounts of urine (pee)
  • Have to urinate often or dribble urine
  • Not be able to feel that the bladder is full
  • Strain while urinating or not be able to urinate
  • Have an overflow of urine from a full bladder
  • Have pain when urinating
  • Have a kidney problem due to urine backing up


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will also be done. The doctor may ask caregivers to keep a diary of how often the child empties their bladder and other urinary habits.

Urine and blood tests may be done to help find a cause. Bladder function tests can also show how urine flow is affected.

Imaging tests may also be done to look at the bladder and urinary tract. These may include:


The goals of treatment are to help the bladder work better and stop infections. This could be done with:


Neurogenic bladder often cannot be prevented.


Antibiotics may be given to stop urinary tract infections.

Other medicine may also be used to help the bladder work better.





  • Lucas, E. Medical management of neurogenic bladder for children and adults: a review. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury and Rehabilitation, 2019; 25 (3): 195-204.
  • Neurogenic bladder. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions/neurogenic-bladder.
  • Neurogenic bladder. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website. Available at: https://www.childrenswi.org/medical-care/urology/conditions/neurogenic-bladder.
  • Neurogenic bladder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/neurogenic-bladder.
  • What is neurogenic bladder? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/n/neurogenic-bladder.


  • Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.