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Spina Bifida & Bladder Leakage

A baby's spine is formed during the first month of pregnancy, and if the spine does not close completely, a condition known as spina bifida can occur. There are several types of spina bifida, but myelomeningocele is the most common and, unfortunately, the most severe. It is a neural tube defect that results when the bones of the spinal canal (vertebrae) do not completely fuse and leave an opening in the spinal canal. When this occurs, some of the spinal cord protrudes through the opening.

Seventy to ninety percent of children with this type of spina bifida also have a condition known ashydrocephalus in which there is too much fluid on the brain. This occurs because the fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord cannot drain properly and instead builds up inside the skull.

Without treatment, the resulting swelling and pressure can lead to an enlarged head and brain damage. Hydrocephalus is treated by inserting a shunt (a pump and catheter tube) inside the skull to drain the fluid from the brain to the abdomen.

Spina bifida is known to occur when a woman has a folic acid deficiency prior to conception. When a woman takes folic acid supplements (such as those in a prenatal vitamin) prior to conception, she can decrease the chance of her baby developing spina bifida by up to 75%.

The effects of spina bifida may be different for each person, but permanent nerve damage to the spinal cord usually results in:

  • Bowel and bladder problems (including bladder leakage)
  • Partial or complete loss of feeling in the lower body
  • Partial or complete loss of function in the lower body (paralysis)
  • Weakness of the hips, legs or feet of a newborn

Another common complication of spina bifida is an allergy to latex. Studies have shown up to 73% of children with spina bifida are allergic to latex.

Facts about Spina Bifida

  • Spina bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the U.S.
  • In the U.S., on average eight babies per day are born with spina bifida (an incidence of 7 per 10,000 births).
  • In the U.S., there are approximately 166,000 people living with spina bifida.
  • Hispanic mothers are 1.5 times more likely to give birth to a child with spina bifida than Caucasian mothers.

Bladder Leakage and Management

Bladder leakage occurs as a result of nerve damage to the spinal cord. When messages from the bladder and sphincter muscles (the muscles that control the flow of urine from the bladder) cannot reach the brain, the child will experience a loss of bladder control and, as a result, bladder leakage. But with the right products, bladder leakage can be easily managed.

When a baby is born with spina bifida, the goal is to begin a bladder leakage management program that includes catheterization via intermittent catheters and preventive treatment to preserve both kidney and bladder function. Medications may be administered to ensure the bladder empties completely.

If catheterization or medication is not effective, or the child's parents are unable to perform the catheterization, doctors can perform surgery to bring the bladder to the skin and create an opening that allows urine to drain from the bladder. This procedure is called a vesicostomy and is easily reversible when the child is older and able to learn self-catheterization.

Manage Bladder Leakage with Catheters from FreedoMed

If you are living with spina bidifa and are looking for ways to manage bladder leakage, FreedoMed can help. We have a high quality selection of catheters for you to choose from - so you and your doctor can decide what will work best to help with your bladder leakage issues. Best of all, if you're on Medicare and have a doctor's prescription, you can get catheters for free! We'll even take care of the paperwork for you and deliver them right to your door.

Bladder leakage management with FreedoMed is easy, stress-free and could make a real difference in your life! You'll be able to interact with friends and family without fear of embarrassment, and if you choose self-catheterization, you won't have to rely on anyone for help with bladder leakage! Apply today to see if you quality for free bladder leakage products!

To learn more about spina bifida, visit the Spina Bifida Association.

*Co-payments, deductibles and some restrictions apply.