Multiple Sclerosis, often referred to as MS is a disabling and often unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system. This disease will interrupt the flow of information within and between the brain and the body.
Sadly the cause of MS is still unknown. It is believed that the disease is often triggered by some unknown environmental factor. Scientists believe a person must be genetically predisposed.
Most people who develop MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 50 years of age. Women are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with MS then men!
Many people with MS experience and over active bladder. Sometimes MS will disrupt nerve signals that control the flow of urine in the body. Inevitably this means you can urinate when you are not ready and unfortunately you have an accident.
There are 2 main causes of urinary incontinence with people who suffer from MS:
1. Stress Incontinence - This is caused by something as simple as laughing, sneezing or even coughing. Urine leaks out because the pelvic floor muscles are just to weak.
2. Urge Incontinence - This is caused by nerve damage to the part of the brain and/or spinal cord that controls the bladder. This results in the urge to urinate more frequently as the bladder is now overactive.
Sometimes people think the obvious way to slow the urge to urinate is by drinking less water. This is actually one of the worst things you can do as you are increasing your risk for infection and dehydration. The most important way to manage incontinence for people with MS is to protect the kidneys. Drinking water cleanses the kidneys. Instead of drinking two cups of coffee, try drinking just one and replace that other cup of coffee with a glass of water.
It's also recommended that you try taking cranberry supplements or drinking cranberry juice to keep the urine more acidic. This will lower the number of bacteria found in urine.
For some treating incontinence is often as simple as training the bladder with pelvic floor exercises.