Introduction to an Overfull Bladder
After a spinal cord injury, it is possible that your bladder may become "overfull." When the bladder has too much urine in it, it becomes overfull.
A bladder that is overfull most of the time gets stretched out and flabby. It can begin to lose its ability to contract and help in the emptying process. When urine is kept in the bladder too long it creates an environment where germs can grow and can lead to infection. The infection may even travel up into the kidneys and cause a kidney infection. If left untreated, stones can form in the kidneys and bladder.
High bladder pressure is another potential problem caused by an overfull bladder. High bladder pressure can cause urine to back up into the kidneys or change the integrity of the bladder wall itself. Both increase the chances of urinary tract infections.
Overfull bladders are also the number one cause of Autonomic Dysreflexia, a potentially life-threatening condition associated with high blood pressure. See Chapter 3: Autonomic Dysreflexia
What Causes an Overfull Bladder?
- Not doing ICs on time
- Not emptying the bladder completely when doing an IC
- Not emptying the bladder completely when refluxing urine...a person who reflexes urine may use a condom catheter for his bladder program
|Signs that the Bladder is Overfull||Treating an Overfull Bladder|
|Feelings of bladder fullness even after emptying it by IC or condom||Do ICs on time|
|Leaking between ICs||Limit fluid intake at end of day/before bedtime if high bladder volumes occur at night|
|Increased amount of urine when doing ICs (more than 500 ccs or 16 oz)||Be sure to empty the bladder completely when doing an IC or using a condom catheter|
|Do ICs more often (every four hours instead of every 6 hours), if necessary|
|Decrease fluid intake (follow the advice of the doctor about the amount
of fluids a person should have each day)