The Relation between Diabetes and Bladder

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as Diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases, which causes the patient to have high blood sugar. This usually happens either because the body is unable to produce the required amount of insulin or because cells stop responding to the insulin produced by the body.

Generally, after an individual eats or drinks, the body breaks down sugars from the food into energy and use it for the cells. To do this, the pancreas produce a hormone called insulin, which facilitate the process of taking out the sugar from the blood and sending it to the cells for energy. However, if one has diabetes, the pancreas produces very little insulin and hence it cannot be used properly. This causes the blood glucose level to rise and the cells do not get the energy they deserve. In this situation, the patients must often provide insulin to the body using a syringe of 31 or 30-gauge needle.

If diabetes is caught early and is taken care of regularly, it can be managed effectively. However, if it is left untreated, it can cause many complications, including heart disease, kidney damage, stroke, bladder dysfunction, and nerve damage.

The relation between diabetes and bladder function is direct. But even though bladder problems are among the most common symptoms of diabetes, they are the least talked about. Saeid Golbidi and Ismail Laher of the University of British Columbia conducted a study which proved that 55 per cent of people with diabetes have hyperactive ‘detrusor’ muscles which push urine out. On the other hand, 23 per cent have underactive detrusors that don’t allow the bladder to empty out completely.

Cause

Most of these problems are caused by nerve damage. For a healthy and well-functioning bladder system, healthy nerves are needed. Healthy nerves can easily sense fullness, urge muscles to begin pushing, and notify the body to close and open sphincters. These nerves need to work together and well. But diabetes weakens the bladder muscles and the nerves that control them.

Symptoms

People who have a diabetic bladder can face a variety of issues. They include frequent urination, constant inconvenience, difficulty in beginning a urinary stream, urinary tract infections, and sensations of wanting to urinate urgently. This is all because the nerves lose the ability to notify the body. This results in a tendency to retain huge amounts of urine in the bladder. A healthy bladder should hold around 300-350 cc, but a diabetic bladder can end up holding around two to three times the desired amount.

Progression

In the beginning, an increased bladder capacity doesn’t seem like a problem. However, after a few months, the bladder muscles end up getting stretches out of shape and start losing their strength. Even though urinating less might seem like a blessing at first, it becomes highly undesirable after a few months of the condition’s progression. This is because eventually, the bladder loses its ability to empty completely, causing great inconvenience and the sensation of always being full.

Clues

Before it progresses too much, there are always clues to look for. People who have this condition will know when the bladder’s capacity increases. A pang or a cramp will become frequent when there is an urgent need to urinate. It can sometimes even become painful. This urgent sensation is then replaced by a dull sense of pressure or even fullness. The trick is to look out for these clues and notify a medical professional immediately.

Treatment

There is a treatment for this condition. The answer is emptying the bladder frequently and completely, giving it a chance to recover and return to its normal condition. A good idea for this condition is a sample treatment plan, which includes a 3-way Foley catheter. In this, the bladder emptying process can begin with the help of this instrument when the tube is inserted in the bladder to drain the urine to a bag taped to the leg. After the catheter is removed, the next step is self-catheterizing to avoid dependency. After a few times, the bladder eventually recovers, and the bladder function is restored in the body.

The key to fixing this problem is being aware of it in the first place. To catch the early signs is important so that there is less progression of the problem. Hence, if you are diabetic, be on a lookout for these clues, as prevention is always better than treatment.

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