Bladder and Bowel Management in People with Neurological Conditions

The MS Trust recently highlighted that around 75 per cent of people with MS experience bladder problems, which can have a big impact on your everyday life. But on the MS Trust website, there are a number of simple management strategies that you may wish to recommend to patients, which they can put in place and which can help them to improve bladder function. These include:

  • Considering your level of food and drink intake
  • Managing your weight
  • Pelvic floor exercises (with tips to strengthen pelvic floor muscles)
  • Bladder training

In addition to the bladder issues suffered by people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), it is important to be alert to bowel problems. Constipation as well as faecal incontinence are also a common occurrence in other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s.

Given the slowness of movement and rigidity in Parkinson’s, this affects the muscles in the bowels. But also, the damage to the nervous system in Parkinson’s will add to the complexity of the disrupted bowel movement, as is also the case in other neurological conditions such as MS, Motor Neurone Disease and spinal cord injury.

Neurogenic bowel, as it is often referred to, results from loss of normal sensory or motor control and may encompass both the upper and the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Patients’ quality of life is greatly affected with their symptoms often being socially disabling. Although bowel dysfunction is a common event, to date there have been relatively few studies addressing bowel management.

Additional Resources:

Recent advances in treatment for narcolepsy

An improved understanding of the causes of narcolepsy has led to an increase in the number of available pharmacological treatments for the sleep disorder, which has recently been reclassified into Narcolepsy Type 1 (NT1) and Narcolepsy Type 2 (NT2). Much more is known about the pathophysiology of NT1, with hypocretin/orexin (ORX) neurons being lost through what is thought to be an autoimmune process. This review article gives an overview of the newest pharmacological treatments for narcolepsy, including some new immune-based therapies.


Dizziness demystified

This review article covers the latest information about the most common presentations and diagnoses under the ‘dizziness’ umbrella and acts as a guide for diagnosing professionals. The four most common presentations are covered in detail and linked with their possible diagnoses, which include Ménière’s disease, vestibular migraine and cerebellar infarction.

Read more on the BMJ website.

Prevalence and associated physical symptoms of depressive and anxiety symptoms in neurology outpatient clinic

In this observational study, a random sample of 765 patients at neurology outpatient clinics in Shanghai were assessed using questionnaires to see whether a link could be made between neurological symptoms and the occurrence of depression and anxiety. The authors found a correlation between the number of physical symptoms reported and the occurrence of depression and anxiety-related symptoms. More research is required to elucidate any link.

Read more on the BMJ website.

Lyme Disease: chronic illness is rare, say experts

Patients should be wary of using non-validated tests to diagnose Lyme Disease, said experts attending an October Science Media Centre briefing on the disease. Consultant microbiologist Matthew Dryden said that an increased, disproportionate public awareness of the rarer side effects of Lyme Disease has led to the spread of misinformation about chronic or ‘post-treatment’ symptoms of Lyme Disease. Consultant in tropical diseases Sarah Logan said that the long-term use of antibiotics by people who believe they have chronic Lyme Disease is more harmful than the effects of the disease itself.

Read more on the BMJ website.