Bladder Control after a Spinal Cord Injury

Posted by Garrison Redd in Life After Paralysis on February 10, 2023 # Lifestyle

Bladder control and maintenance are very important after a Spinal Cord Injury. As a person living with a Spinal Cord Injury for the last 17 years, I had my ups and downs when it came to bladder control. For many individuals, as a result of Spinal Cord Injury, have to live with a neurogenic bladder. People with a neurogenic bladder have some type of dysfunction with their nerves and bladder muscles. Some people experience an overactive bladder in which they void more often before their bladder is full. In contrast, some people may have an underactive bladder in which their bladder muscles do not squeeze when it is filled with urine and won’t empty the way it is supposed to. Garrison Redd

The main issue with having a neurogenic bladder is finding ways to prevent urinary tract infections. Due to bladder dysfunction and the way you empty your bladder, many individuals are more susceptible to urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections typically involve the lower urinary tract, and they occur when bacteria enter the urethra, which is one of the issues that come with catheterization. Other causes of urinary tract infections can come from a blockage in the urinary tract such as kidney stones, a suppressed immune system and a recent urinary procedure, to name a few.

There are many ways and techniques to prevent a urinary tract infection. Drinking plenty of liquid, especially water, is essential. Drinking water dilutes the urine; you can also try 100 percent cranberry juice. And for those that are sexually active, empty your bladder right after intercourse. Some people have found that probiotics work as well; however, I never tried probiotics for my bladder. Along with the preventative methods, if you feel that you have a UTI, make sure and get it checked. Antibiotics are used to fight off infections; however, after prolonged use, it can lead to antibiotic resistance.

I would advise anyone to see a doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms: a strong and constant urge to pee, pain in the pelvic area, cloudy urine, bloody urine, or smelly urine.

Depending on the severity, you may experience nausea, vomiting, chills, and a fever. You want to get the UTI under control before it travels to your kidneys. Pyelonephritis, the term for a kidney infection, can lead to serious complications, such as kidney damage or even sepsis.

In short, I would encourage anyone and everyone that’s reading this living with a Spinal Cord Injury to work towards finding ways to prevent UTIs as much as possible. Speak with your doctor or urologist about ways you can prevent UTIs if they keep reoccurring.

My name is Garrison Redd. I am a T-12 paraplegic born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I am searchable under Garrison Redd on YouTube or @GarrisonRedd on Instagram and Facebook. As well as you can visit my website or email, [email protected]. I hope everybody stays safe and strong.

This blog is not intended as medical advice or to replace behavioral health care. Please consult your healthcare team.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.