Treatment for urinary problems from diabetic neuropathy

Treatment for urinary problems caused by diabetic neuropathy depends on the specific problem. Typical problems and their treatment include:

  • Reduced ability to know when the bladder is full. Urinating on a regular schedule (every 4 hours, for instance), regardless of whether you think your bladder is full, is the usual approach to treating this problem. If neuropathy is causing you to urinate involuntarily (urinary incontinence), medications such as oxybutynin (Ditropan) or tolterodine (Detrol) may be helpful. Men with urinary incontinence caused by neuropathy may benefit from alpha-blocker medications, such as terazosin (Hytrin), doxazosin (Cardura), or tamsulosin (Flomax).
  • Straining to urinate and difficulty emptying the bladder completely. This problem may be treated with medication, such as bethanechol (Urecholine). In more severe cases, a thin tube may be used to empty the bladder on a regular basis (periodic catheterization). Difficulty emptying the bladder completely may be worse during pregnancy.
  • Disruption of the proper emptying of the bladder, which may result in urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs may be treated with antibiotics. Drinking more fluids each day can help prevent UTIs.

Last Updated: June 3, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS

Medical Review: Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology

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