Bladder and bowel


Bladder dysfunction occurs in at least 80% of people living with multiple sclerosis. It can usually be treated quite successfully.

Treatment strategies include dietary and fluid management, medications and intermittent or continual catheterisation (inserting a thin tube into the bladder to remove urine).

Bladder dysfunction develops because multiple sclerosis blocks or delays the transmission of nerve signals in areas of the central nervous system that controls the bladder and urinary sphincter.


Bowel dysfunction/constipation is a particular concern among people with multiple sclerosis, although diarrhoea, incontinence (or loss of control) and other problems of the stomach and bowels can also occur.

Causes of constipation include insufficient fluid intake, reduced physical activity and mobility and decreased or slowed "motility" (movement of food through the intestinal tract). Certain medications, such as antidepressants or drugs used to control bladder symptoms, may also cause constipation.

Loss of bowel control in multiple sclerosis may be neurologic in origin or related to constipation and should be evaluated by a health care provider generally a physician or nurse).

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Learn more: previous webinars

Bladder & Bowel changes in multiple sclerosis

Many people living with multiple sclerosis experience changes to their bowel and/or bladder, these sessions will explain the issues and offer advice around where to seek more help as well as strategies that you will find helpful.

(Recorded March 2017)
Webinar handouts: Bladder changes in MS

(Recorded April 2016
Webinar handouts: Bowel changes in MS

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