Almost half of patients with diabetes live with bladder dysfunction. Scientists recently discovered that an immune system receptor typically activated by bacteria may be the major cause.
Research has shown that content from dying cells can activate the immune system receptor on the bladder wall and that this receptor drives inflammation. The inflammation, in turn, aggravates the bladder causing it to become thicker and less compliant resulting in difficulty storing and excreting urine. Over time, the dysfunctional bladder causes patients to use the restroom more frequently, for longer periods of time, or possibly results in incontinence.
Scientists have been able to prevent the activation of the receptor in some studies even in the face of high glucose – which also drives inflammation. The hope is that this information will result in treatments that protect the bladder.
Future studies must be completed but this important finding may eventually lead to treatments that minimize or eliminate bladder dysfunction in diabetes patients.
For more details, see Toll-Like Receptor 4 Activation Contributes to Diabetic Bladder Dysfunction in a Murine Model of Type 1 Diabetes, Theodora Szasz, Camilla F. Wenceslau, Beth Burgess, Kenia P. Nunes and R. Clinton Webb, Diabetes, doi: 10.2337/db16-0480.As a social security disability attorney, I have encountered many diabetic clients who face this issue. I am hopeful that the studies and research are helpful in finding a treatment.