Flaccid bladder is a condition where the urinary bladder fails to empty. Also known as atonic bladder or sometimes under-active bladder, the condition is usually caused by damages or injury to the spinal cord, or nervous system which controls the bladder.
There are actually two separate nerves system. The bladder relays the message of its condition to the brain through one set of nerves. It lets the brain know whether it is currently empty or full. The brain on the other hand, uses the other set of nerves to send signals to the bladder muscles commanding it to contract or relax depending whether the person is voiding or holding the urine.
Since if any of these nerves are damaged, the brain does not know the current condition of the bladder whether it is full or empty since the pathway of the nerves which carries the signal is affected. As such, the brain is unable to send signals to the bladder to command it to empty itself.
Because of this condition, people who are suffering from flaccid bladder generally has a larger bladder capacity or size compared to average normal people. A bladder capacity of 2000ml (about 68 ounces) is not uncommon among sufferers.
One of the reason as to why the bladder has been enlarged is because of the loss of sensation of bladder filling. The bladder loses muscle tone as it over-stretched for a prolonged period of time. In addition, the bladder also does not contract sufficiently to release all the urine that it is holding resulting in residual urine left in the bladder.
This may lead to incomplete emptying (read atonic bladder) and may cause small amounts of urine to dribble out occasionally through the urethra.
Although this urinary problem is frustrating and agonizing, it can be treated and controlled with Terazosin drugs especially if the condition is not severe. If the drug has no effect or that it does not work as intended, catheterization method is usually used to drain the bladder. This is particularly common for moderate to more severe flaccid bladder conditions.