What is it?

Atonic bladder refers to a condition in which the bladder muscles do not fully contract. In this disorder, a signal is sent to the brain when the bladder is full, but the muscles won’t contract, causing difficulty to urinate. Then, urine builds up in the bladder and may cause overflow incontinence, meaning the urine keeps leaking. Causes for atonic bladder include neurological conditions such as spina bifida, diabetec neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, and other causes such as an injury to the spinal cord or the bladder wall, and obstruction of the bladder. Atonic bladder complications include bladder and kidney infections, kidney damage and failure.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Acontractile detrusor

Signs & symptoms

Overflow incontinence, which means that there is an involuntary release of urine, is the most common symptom of atonic bladder. In this situation, the bladder never fully empties.


Atonic bladder is diagnosed upon findings in medical history, physical examination, and tests to evaluate the bladder function and its characteristics such as Cystometrogram, electromyogram, bladder US and pelvic MRI scan.


Self- catheterization is often indicated, in which the patient empties his own bladder. Sometimes, surgical procedures may be needed such as suprapubic catheter, urinary diversion and cystoplasty.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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