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What Causes Spina Bifida?

Find out how spina bifida occurs, what the symptoms are, and how it’s managed.

Spina bifida is a relatively common congenital neural tube defect that can often be detected a birth. Of course, when spina bifida or other defects are detected in-utero, we understand just how stressful this news can be for the family. When spina bifida leads to the neurogenic bladder in children, that’s when our Austin and Cedar Park, TX, board-certified pediatric urologists can step in to provide comprehensive and specialized treatment.

What causes spina bifida?

Unfortunately, the cause of spina bifida is still unknown; however, some factors could play a role in which babies develop spina bifida. Some factors include,

  • A family history of neural tube defects
  • Taking certain prescription medications while pregnant (medications used to treat bipolar or epilepsy can increase the risk for spina bifida)
  • Genetic conditions
  • Lack of folic acid
  • Women who have diabetes or are obese while pregnant

Is there a cure for spina bifida? 

At this time, there is no cure for this neural defect; however, our Austin and Cedar Park, TX, pediatric urologists and your child’s team of medical specialists can work together to make sure that they get the treatments they need to manage other health problems that may arise as a result of their condition.

How does spina bifida impact the bladder? 

Certain types of spinal Bifida, such as myelomeningocele, can damage the nerves of the lower spinal, which impacts how the bladder and bowels function. This is known as a neurogenic bladder. This may require a catheter to remove urine from the bladder properly. It’s also important that our Austin and Cedar Park, TX, pediatric urologists monitor your child’s condition regularly, as a neurogenic bladder can also lead to kidney damage.

How are spina bifida and neurogenic bladder treated? 

The treatments your child receives will depend on the kind of spina bifida they have. In some instances, surgery may be required before birth, and some studies have found that children that get surgery prenatally versus postnatally might have better outcomes. After birth, surgery may be necessary to treat myelomeningocele and meningocele and close the defect to reduce the risk of infection or injury. This surgical procedure is typically performed within the first few days of life.

Children's Urology works closely with the Spina Bifida Center at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin and Cedar Park, TX, so your child can first receive a diagnosis. We can work with their medical team to ensure your child gets the full-spectrum care they need to manage a neurogenic bladder. Call (512) 472-6134 today to schedule a consultation with our team.

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