Urinary Tract Symptoms Found to Affect 70% of MS Patients in Study and Contribute to Disability

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Urinary tract symptoms and MS

Urinary tract symptoms affect a large proportion of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), yet their extent and type is not well-known. A study reported that among a cohort of people with the disease, almost 70 percent had urinary tract problems, adding to the extent of their disability.

The study, Clinical Characteristics and Urodynamic Analysis of Urinary Dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis, was published in the Chinese Medical Journal.

Researchers at Capital Medical University in Beijing enrolled 126 MS patients — a group composed of 30 people with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), 64 with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), 10 with primary progressive MS (PPMS), and 22 with secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

In this sample, 67.5 percent had lower urinary tract symptoms, most frequently in the form of urgency to urinate. The most common urological abnormality was an overactive bladder muscle, likely the main cause of feelings of urgency as 71.6 percent of patients with urgency also had an overactive bladder. Other common symptoms were frequent urination, urge incontinence, and stress incontinence.

Urological symptoms were associated with more severe disability, as assessed by the expanded disability status scale (EDSS). Particularly, a scale measuring the severity of overactive bladder indicated that the greater the bladder symptoms, the higher the disability.

CIS patients had fewer instances of overactive bladder and less disability than RRMS or progressive MS patients, but the research team could not observe any difference between the RRMS and progressive MS groups.

The researchers also explored if MS treatment impacted urinary tract symptoms, and noted improvement in some parameters in all groups following treatment. The study, however, did not distinguish among different types of treatment, ranging from immunomodulatory therapies with interferon over methylprednisolone and behavioral therapy. The study also mentioned that urinary tract symptoms were treated with both anticholinergic drugs and intermittent catheterization. The mean treatment period was only 14 days, and each MS type showed improvements in different parameters.

These factors make it difficult to draw any firm conclusions about MS treatment and potential improvement in urinary tract function.

Nevertheless, measuring urinary tract function parameters might guide clinicians in their management decisions, and possibly offer prognostic clues of the risk for upper urinary tract deterioration.

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Magdalena holds an MSc in Pharmaceutical Bioscience and an interdisciplinary PhD merging the fields of psychiatry, immunology and neuropharmacology. Her previous research focused on metabolic and immunologic changes in psychotic disorders. She is now focusing on science writing, allowing her to culture her passion for medical science and human health.
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  1. Spiro Spyratos says:

    This is why the Tisch MS center in NY has the best data on reversing disability. Neural Progenitor cells are in FDA phase II trials and have been shown to reduce urinary and bladder symptoms and also improve mobility. It is the only FDA approved stem cell therapy that is showing promise in progressive MS patients.

  2. Shasha says:

    When I stopped gluten/dairy/soy/sugar/GMO I had no more UTI. The Celiac diet may help the immune system and help more nutrients absorb in intestines..then the cells work right to fight infections and much more. Nature’s Way- Kidney/Bladder…cranberries…fish oil/oil of oregano and later dairy free probiotic may help and vitamins/good oils/minerals…LDN..detoxing. A person may become resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotics may hurt the gut lining in addition to gluten/GMO and lower the immune system and hurt mitochondria. Herbal antibiotics may help and no gluten etc which may prevent the problem. Best wishes.

      • Shasha says:

        Hi, Hidden gluten may hurt. I need LDN to help block hidden gluten. 23% of supplements/some medicine/nuts not sold in the shell/meat basting/some spices/air/certified gluten free food and more may have 20ppm of gluten. Soy/GMO/sugar may also heal. An Asian/Celiac diet with LDN helps me be ok and vitamins/good oils/minerals/probiotic…detoxing. Antibiotics hurting mitochondria/heavy metals are not taken into account when they decide about thyroid medicine. Too low of thyroid makes muscles weak/low in oxygen. Microscopic gluten/dairy may hurt people and lower the immune system. Best wishes.

  3. Kathy says:

    My incontinence and MS, led me to Bladder Botox … it was a nightmare and continues as such. Went into retention, after 12 months and many, many interventions, I am now returning to my regular bladder incontinence .. is there something I can do to lessen the difficulty I am currently experiencing. I see a urologist monthly. Recently placed on 10mg VESIcare. Been the course of retention, catheters, tons of UTIs, more antibiotics than I care to admit to… and still not much relief ..

    Anyone have any suggestions for relief? I’d settle for being back to the level of incontinence I had before bladder botox.


      • Shasha says:

        Botox may not work after 10 years and if a person’s immune system is low it may let the bad bacteria grow. I take Osteoprocare instead of dairy. Dairy gave me irritable bladder and gluten irritable bowel. Gluten may lower thyroid so muscles are weak also. Amour thyroid may help…not by TSH by by free T4 and free T3. Best wishes.

  4. Jos says:

    I have also been offered to undergo a ‘Botox treatment’…. So far I have declined, as I feel that this is still in an experimental phase. At least I know what I am up to at the moment ‘bladder wise’…

        • Kathy says:

          The side effect related to retention, has been a nightmare… at least now I can urinate on my own, after many months, I now have to go about every hour … nights are horrible. There is a bladder stimulator you can get BUT it isn’t compatible with MS and MRI’s … I have called the botox company and the stimulator … they offer no solutions, other than continue with my urologist. So guess I’m stuck with this issue … grrrrr
          In the scheme of things, I would never had botox, had I known what I know now.

          Read all you can about Botox before you subject yourself to the mess .. I know I have UTIs almost every couple weeks … I was just notified by my doc, that I have a colonization of bacteria in my urinary tract. At Christmas I was hospitalized for 6 days, I had a major exacerbation, resulting from this ‘infection’ Due to all the UTI’s, I had developed a super bug from all the antibiotics over the prior 6 months… Ended up having to get IV treatments for 14 days as an outpatient at a Infectious disease clinic. No fun!!!

          Good luck, so far I’m not impressed with Botox, there isn’t any other option if you go into retention, just have to wait it out ..In my case, i’m still waiting …

          • Tania B says:


            I really sympathise with you and plan to ask many questions.

            Where do you live? USA ? I live in the UK.

            Have you been asked to self-catheterise? I’ve been told I should learn before Botox and it scares me.

            I sincerely hope life improves for you. Ae you still getting infections? I imagine regretably you still 🙁


          • Kathy says:

            Tania, I’m in Florida, US … I believe doing the Botox was a big mistake, even with MS, I don’t think I would have had the problems I do today..Good luck K…

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