Multiple Sclerosis and Bladder Problems

Bladder dysfunction affects many people with multiple sclerosis, according to the National MS Society. This is due to the fact that multiple sclerosis can disrupt the transmission of nerve signals in areas that control the bladder (neurogenic bladder).

Bladder Dysfunction Symptoms

  • Frequency and/or urgency of urination
  • Nighttime urination
  • Hesitancy in starting urination
  • Incontinence (the inability to hold in urine)
  • Inability to empty the bladder completely

A healthy bladder is important for long-term kidney health and prevention of infection as well as independence and quality of life. Untreated bladder issues also may worsen multiple sclerosis symptoms, such as weakness and spasticity.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle modifications, medications and physical therapy can usually successfully manage bladder symptoms. Some diet modifications include:

  • Increasing your vitamin c and calcium intake by eating more vegetables such as kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts and fresh fruits such as strawberries, oranges and grapefruits.
  • Increasing your magnesium intake by eating foods such as potatoes, almonds and spinach.
  • Decreasing the amount of sodium you eat.
  • Limiting your intake of carbonated beverages and caffeine as they can subsequently irritate the bladder.

How to Know If You Need A Bladder Evaluation

If you have multiple sclerosis and are concerned about bladder function, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it difficult to start urinating when you get to the toilet?
  • Do you feel like your bladder isn’t completely empty when you’ve finished urinating?
  • Do you experience frequent or recurrent urinary tract infections?
  • Are you using pads or any other strategies to protect your clothing from urinary leakage?
  • Do you limit the amount of fluids you drink because you worry about frequent urination?
  • Are you planning your day based on your bladder symptoms?
  • Lastly, does your bladder prevent you from doing what you enjoy?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, contact your neurologist, nurse or primary care provider about an evaluation of your bladder function.

For more information, visit the National MS Society’s pages on the subject at or

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.