Managing Bladder and Bowel Problems After a Stroke
Some people who have a stroke suffer loss of bladder
control (urinary incontinence) after the stroke. But this is usually
temporary. And it can have many causes, including infection, constipation, and
the effects of medicines.
If you have problems controlling your
bladder, your doctor may:
Since you've recently had a stroke, ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
1. How soon can I expect to recover after my stroke?
2. How will having a stroke change what I can and can't do?
3. Will I need to change my diet? What foods should I be avoiding or eating more of?
4. Are there any other lifestyle changes I should make?
5. Would physical or occupational therapy be helpful? Can you make a referral?
6. Are there any medications I should take to help me during my recovery?
Test a urine sample to see if you have an
Do tests to see how you urinate, which can help you
and your doctor decide what treatment might work best for you.
you develop a schedule of regular bathroom use that fits your
Suggest that you wear protective clothing or a
Prescribe medicines, depending on the cause of your bladder
Some things you can do to prevent bladder leakage
Emptying your bladder at regular intervals,
including when you first wake up and at bedtime.
liquid intake, such as drinking liquids at regular intervals and limiting fluid
intake after dinner.
have trouble emptying your bladder completely (urinary retention). Urinary
retention is common, especially right after a stroke, but it usually improves
If you have urinary retention problems, your doctor
Place a tube (catheter) into your bladder to
prevent too much urine from building up. This is used only if absolutely
needed. (For more information, see the topic Urinary Incontinence in Men or
Urinary Incontinence in Women.)
Have you avoid medicines with certain side effects that cause the
bladder to retain urine.
Prescribe medicines, depending on the
cause of your bladder problems.
Test a urine sample to see if you
have an infection (common with urinary retention problems).
itself does not cause constipation. But constipation often occurs after
a stroke because you are not drinking enough liquids, are in bed most of the
time, or are taking certain medicines as part of your treatment. If your
constipation is severe, stool can become lodged (impacted) in the bowel.
If you are constipated:
Drink extra liquids, especially
Set a regular time for using the toilet.
If you continue to have problems with constipation, your
doctor may recommend a bulking agent (such as Metamucil), a stool softener, or
regular use of a laxative or enema.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
June 28, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 28, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this