Neurogenic Bladder Issues for Children and Adults with Spina Bifida

Children and adults with Spina Bifida often need to perform intermittent catheterization or take other medical steps such as medications, intravesical therapies etc. to help empty their bladder.7,8

Using Intermittent Catheters - Children with Spina Bifida

Children with spina bifida often can’t control when they need to go to the bathroom because the nerves that control their bowel and bladder are damaged.  If a child has problems emptying their bladder completely, they can develop problems with urinary tract and kidney infections.4,8

Healthcare providers and parents agree that when it comes to continence care management, it is best for children and their caregivers’ for the child to become as independent and educated on intermittent catheter use as early as possible.7,8

Using a clean intermittent catherization (CIC) technique is a key part of hygiene for catheter use in children.  Additionally, many children born with spina bifida also have a latex [natural rubber] allergy, so it is important that children with SB who self-cath must use a type of intermittent catheter that is latex-free.4,7,8

With help, it is possible for children with SB to learn how to self-catheterize on their own.  Discretion is a key part of a daily continence care regimen, as most intermittent catheter users don’t want anyone to know about their catheter use.  However, privacy is especially important to children when it comes to their bathroom routines.5

Please note that the information provided by BARD Medical in this article or on this website is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a medical professional.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Data and statistics. Available online at:
  2. GRAY’S Anatomy Review- First Edition. Gray's Anatomy Review (Kindle Locations 15-21). Elsevier Health Sciences. Kindle Edition.
  3. March of Dimes. (2009). Birth defects: Spina Bifida. Available online at:
  4. Spina Bifida Association. (2008). Spina Bifida. Available online at:
  5. Spina Bifida Association –National Resource Center. Folic Acid. Available on-line
  6. Ozek M, Cinalli G, Maixner W, The Spina Bifida Management and Outcomes, Springer Milan Berlin Heidelberg New York, 2008
  7. Rekate H MD, Comprehensive Management of Spina Bifida, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Ann Arbor, Boston, 2006
  8. Clinical Neuroanatomy 27th Edition, McGraw-Hill Education, 2013
  9. Agopian AJ, etal. Spinal Bifida Subtypes and Sub Phenotypes by Maternal Race, Ethnicity in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, Am J Med Genet Part A 158A:109-115, 2011

 Information is as of 12/2014. Please check references for updated information.