Learn more about MS and ISC with Coloplast

The uncertainty of life with MS is often one of the biggest hurdles that people with a diagnosis have to surmount. Whether it's being unsure about how to navigate everyday life today or preparing for symptoms that could manifest as time goes on, everyone’s multiple sclerosis is different and there’s little telling what the future with a diagnosis could hold.

One symptom that can be easily managed is bladder control. Around 75% of people with MS experience issues with their bladder, particularly when it comes to storing and emptying their wee.

Coloplast, a company dedicated to providing leading intimate healthcare solutions for people with conditions spanning ostomy, continence and urology not only create innovative, gold-standard care products but also work to educate their customers through direct contact with HCPs.

As part of their ongoing series of webinars aimed at supporting those who use intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC) as a way of bladder management, Coloplast’s MS and bladder specialist nurses Susan and Tracey took to our screens. They provided an informative online event focusing on MS, the effects of MS on the bladder and how ISC can aid bladder management as well as being on hand to answer any clinical questions viewers had.


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“Multiple sclerosis can cause damage to the areas of the brain and spinal cord that contribute to bladder function,” explains Susan, saying: “The bladder symptoms you experience will also depend on the specific areas that become damaged.”

Multiple sclerosis causes the immune system to attack the protective sheath that covers nerve fibres. Over time, this can cause lesions, areas of the central nervous system that become scarred. When one of these lesions develops on the part of the central nervous system that controls the bladder, people can lack the control, nerve signal or strength to hold in or fully empty their bladder.

When people with MS experience these symptoms, it’s important that they maintain good bladder management. Susan shares her tips, saying: “There are many foods and drinks that you can avoid when experiencing these symptoms, if you avoid caffeine, spicy foods and fruit juice, your bladder is less likely to become irritated.”

Other factors that can aid better bladder health include drinking enough fluids every day, being a healthy weight, quitting smoking and reducing or cutting alcohol consumption. Bladder training is also a useful strategy that Susan champions: “There is a lot of psychology in bladder function and it is possible to retrain your bladder to a point and learn new behaviours.”

If these strategies do not help someone who cannot empty their bladder properly, they are sometimes advised to use catheterise. After they are clinically assessed, Intermittent Self Catheterisation (ISC) is often advised for people with bladder symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis. By harnessing this solution, which allows people to control when they wee throughout the day without having to wear a traditional leg bag, people can say goodbye to surprise leaks, incontinence pads and UTIs.

“ISC promotes good, healthy bladder activity, it reduces the risk of infection, it supplements your natural bladder emptying and keeps the bladder nice and healthy, that’s why it’s the gold standard of care,” says Tracey.

Having poor bladder health and management can lead to UTIs as residual urine in the bladder creates a breeding ground for bacteria to form and multiply. As well as causing discomfort, urinary tract infections are particularly bad for people with MS because they can exacerbate neurological symptoms which mimic a relapse.

ISC also helps those with these intimate issues to gain some control over their lives: “It can have a positive impact on your mental state, your work life, social life and very importantly your intimacy.”

Intermittent Self Catheterisation can only aid these different areas of a person’s lifestyle if their catheterisation routine and products suit their way of life, mobility and dexterity. Coloplast’s Speedicath range of discrete catheters is designed with that in mind. The SpeediCath Compact Eve, Compact Set and Flex are all non-medical looking catheters designed to sit as normally in your handbag as your lipstick or your notebook. From utilising a triangular shape that is perfect for people who find it difficult to use their hands to making use of flexible materials for easy insertion, the Speedicath range is designed for you to make your life easier.

If you want to find out more about catheterisation, bladder health and ostomy care, visit Coloplast’s website where you’ll find loads of great resources!

If you’re living with MS or caring for someone who has the condition, be sure to check out our free myMS support programme and other resources on the talkMS hub.

Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.

Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 26 May 2021
Next review: 26 May 2024