Managing Bladder Problems Caused by LEMS
Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) is a rare autoimmune disease marked by muscle weakness that starts in the lower limbs.
The disease can affect how well the autonomic nervous system — involved in saliva production and bladder and bowel control — works.
Although rare, some LEMS patients may have what is known as neurogenic bladder.
What is a neurogenic bladder?
Neurogenic bladder is the name given to a number of urinary conditions where people lack bladder control. This can cause problems like wetting yourself, feelings of needing to urinate frequently, or difficulty urinating. Some patients may also have difficulty sensing when they need to urinate.
Neurogenic bladder can make it difficult to get through the day without interruptions. Some people may hesitate to go out with friends or plan vacations over concerns that they won’t be able to find a bathroom when they need one.
If you are having bladder control problems, discuss treatment options and management tips with your physician.
Here are some habits that can help with neurogenic bladder:
Absorbent pads or pants
There are many discreet types of absorbent pads and underpants that are not visible through clothing. Many people like the added security of using such aids in case they can’t reach a bathroom in time.
Plan your bathroom breaks, even if it doesn’t feel like you have to go. Set an alarm on your watch or phone to remind yourself to urinate.
Double voiding means urinating and then trying to urinate again 15 to 30 seconds later. This can be helpful for people who feel like they have to urinate again soon after urinating.
Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles involved in controlling the bladder and bowels. This type of exercise can help with bladder control. For those unfamiliar with pelvic floor exercises, these videos may be of use.
For some patients, it may be helpful to lower their use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Some may also benefit from consuming less citrus fruits, fizzy drinks, and spicy foods.
Some medications can help with neurogenic bladder.
Last updated: Dec. 4, 2019
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