I am 35 and a C-5 quad. For 17 years I have followed a schedule of intermittent catheterization three times a day to drain my bladder completely. I have also had the ability to void some of my urine involuntarily into a leg bag. This “system” has worked great. Approximately 4 years ago, there was a day when I got my typical, mild dysreflexia symptoms, but they continued for an hour. I decided to catheterize ahead of schedule, and I found that my output was 2-3 times the normal amount. My dysreflexia symptoms stopped immediately. So, apparently, my bladder reached a point where it needed to empty but, for some reason, refused or was not able to do so. This problem occurred again about 6 months later and then again about 3 months after that. It eventually reached a point where it might happen a couple times a week.
Now I do not void on my own. On rare occasion I will void unvoluntarily but only if I am lying down in bed. This happens only sometimes and with very little output. I no longer void while sitting in my wheelchair. I also now must catheterize every 4 hours. As many of you know, this is inconvenient and expensive.
I have researched on the internet and learned that the pudendal nerve controls the bladder sphincter. I believe this could be my problem. Confirming this is the fact that I no longer get erections (except sometimes when lying down), a problem also associated with the pudendal nerve. I recently had an MRI to check for a pinched nerve, but no problems were found. I also recently had a urodynamics test, which found that, when my bladder contracts, my internal sphincter does not relax. My urologist wants me on Ditropan to stop my bladder from contracting, because urine could then be pushed back up into my kidneys. My urologist still does not know the cause of my problem and is not interested in finding one. I am not content with that. Before I start prescription drugs or have a procedure, I want to find the cause and try to resolve it. Am I naïve in thinking I can find the cause? What about the pudendal nerve?