Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Select An Article

Multiple Sclerosis and Bladder Control Problems

Font Size

Multiple sclerosis (MS) damages nerves that send messages to your muscles, which makes them harder to control. The ones connected to your bladder are no different.

Trouble with bladder control is common for people with MS. But it doesn’t have to take over your life. With the right approach, you can get a handle on these issues.

Recommended Related to Multiple Sclerosis

What Are Demyelinating Disorders?

Most of the nerves in your body are covered with a protective layer called myelin. It’s a lot like the insulation on electric wires. It helps messages from your brain move quickly and smoothly through your body, like electricity flows from a power source. Demyelinating disorders damage myelin. When this happens, scar tissue forms in its place. Brain signals can’t move across scar tissue as quickly, so your nerves don’t work as well as they should. As a result, you might have trouble talking,...

Read the What Are Demyelinating Disorders? article > >

Types of Bladder Control Problems

There are a few versions that affect people with MS:

  • Urinary urgency means you feel the need to pee often and urgently. The small "tickle" and feeling of pressure that help us know it’s time to head to the restroom are intense.
  • Incontinence is the loss of bladder control. Sometimes MS will disrupt the nerve signals that direct the movement of urine in your body so that it comes out when you’re not ready.
  • Nocturia means you have to get up a lot during the night to go to the bathroom.
  • Urinary hesitancy is when you have trouble starting to pee.

Bladder Control Treatments in MS

A bladder problem is more than an inconvenience. If you don’t get treatment, it can turn into other health issues, including bladder infections, kidney damage, and hygiene problems. It also can keep you from doing the things you’d normally do and make you feel isolated.

Talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in when and how often you’re going to the bathroom. She might recommend that you see a doctor who specializes in bladder problems, called a urologist. She might also talk to you about some things you can do on your own:

Diet changes. One way to start is to change the liquid you put in your body every day. Your doctor may recommend that you:

  • Drink no more than 2 quarts of liquids a day
  • Steer clear of drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and sodas
  • Have no more than one alcoholic drink per day

Change your behavior. Some things you can try:

  • Bladder training aims to let you go longer between your trips to the bathroom. You start by setting a schedule for when you’ll pee. Then you train yourself to resist the first urge to go and refrain from going until your scheduled time. Eventually, the time between restroom visits lasts for several hours.
  • Timed voiding helps people who have a condition that makes it hard for them to get to a bathroom in time, such as a physical disability. The person follows a schedule with set times to visit the restroom. This method doesn’t try to teach the person to resist the urge to go.
  • Prompted voiding trains a caregiver to remind someone to go to the bathroom. The goal is to have fewer accidents by making the person aware that they need to pee every so often. People often use timed voiding at the same time.
  • Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which help with bladder control. Your doctor can tell you how to do them.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
woman applying lotion
Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
woman pondering
Get personalized treatment options.
man with hand over eye
Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
brain scan
worried woman
neural fiber
white blood cells
sunlight in hands
marijuana plant
muscle spasm