Bladder Disorders in Diabetes

Eva Tseng, M.D., Nisa Maruthur, M.D., M.H.S.


  • Bladder dysfunction in diabetes mellitus (DM) spans a spectrum from lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) such as incontinence to bladder cystopathy.
  • Detrusor muscle, neurologic, and urothelial dysfunction underlie bladder dysfunction in DM.
  • Urge incontinence: involuntary loss of urine while feeling a need to urinate. Usually due to neurogenic detrusor overactivity (i.e., spastic bladder)
  • Stress incontinence: involuntary loss of urine that occurs during physical activity, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise. Usually due to weak pelvic floor muscles.
  • Bladder cystopathy: decreased bladder sensation and contractility resulting in urinary retention, the most severe bladder disorder in DM. Usually due to autonomic neuropathy (also known as neurogenic bladder).

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Last updated: September 4, 2017