Transverse myelitis is a neurological condition characterized by inflammation across a segment of the spinal cord. This inflammation interrupts the signals that the spinal cord nerves send throughout the body, causing symptoms like pain, sensory issues, and motor control difficulties. The onset can be sudden or gradual, but the consequences are often life-altering, impacting various aspects of daily living, including urinary and bowel functions.
Challenges for Patients
Individuals with transverse myelitis often face bladder and bowel dysfunction as a common challenge. The disruption of nerve signals can lead to urinary incontinence, urinary retention, or frequent urges to urinate. These challenges can significantly impair a person's quality of life and contribute to feelings of isolation or embarrassment. Furthermore, the risk of urinary tract infections increases, requiring diligent care and medical attention.
Managing bladder dysfunction is a key aspect of living with transverse myelitis, and catheters are often recommended for this purpose. Intermittent catheterization is usually the first line of defense, helping to maintain a scheduled voiding routine and reduce the risks associated with incontinence and infections. Hydrophilic or pre-lubricated catheters are often recommended for ease of use and comfort. For patients who cannot perform self-catheterization, indwelling catheters might be a viable option.