Information for the public

Treatment for problems with bladder emptying

Treatment for problems with bladder emptying

There are not many treatments for problems with bladder emptying in people with neurological conditions, and you may need to use a catheter (see box below) to help empty your bladder.

You should not be offered drugs called alpha-blockers to treat problems with emptying the bladder.

Urinary catheters

Some people may be offered a catheter to help with their incontinence. A catheter is a hollow tube that drains urine from your bladder. Usually, the catheter is inserted through the urethra. Sometimes a catheter is inserted into the bladder through a small hole in the lower part of the tummy (this type of catheter is called a 'suprapubic catheter').

An indwelling catheter is one that's in place all the time.

The urine may drain directly into a bag or you may have a catheter valve instead, which is opened at regular intervals to drain the urine from your bladder. You may choose to use a catheter valve if you prefer it and your healthcare professional thinks it is suitable for you.

An intermittent catheter is inserted at regular intervals or when you feel the need to urinate.

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