September 1, 2020

Drs. Denise Tate and Gianna Rodriguez attended and presented at International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) Annual Scientific Meeting

The International Spinal Cord Society promotes the highest standard of care in the practice of spinal cord injury (SCI) for men, women and children throughout the world. The society includes clinicians and scientists from 87 countries who meet together once a year to discuss progress in treating spinal cord injury and related conditions. Recently Drs. Denise Tate and Gianna Rodriguez from the University of Michigan attended this meeting and presented on their current work on spinal cord injury. During a course presentation they discussed how to best assess bladder related problems and symptoms. Other conference highlights included various presentations on bladder health and urinary tract infections. These are summarized below.  These reflect presenters’ unique perspectives and not necessarily the views of Michigan Medicine. Dr. Tate from Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Dr. Cameron from Urology are currently conducting a clinical trial to prevent urinary tract infections after SCI. if you are interested you may contact Dr. Tate via email:

A healthy, functioning bladder is important to our well-being. In fact, our lives depend on it.

Urinary Tract Infections and Your Bladder: Updates from the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS)
Written by Denise G Tate PhD, Professor, University of Michigan
Risk Factors for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) after SCI

Dr. Michael Kennelly from the United States and colleagues presented on factors that may predispose someone to develop a UTI. Risk factors include among others having diabetes, and bowel dysfunction. Other causes include bacteria inserted by product use for catheterization into the bladder, urethral and bladder trauma from product, non-hygienic procedure, low fluid intake and voiding frequency, post void residual urine left on the bladder, previous UTIs, bladder and kidney stones, possible BOTOX injections and others.  The authors suggest that simple steps such as hand washing before catheterization is key to avoid infections.

Professor Jean Jacques Wyndaele, a Urologist, spoke about the value of assessing sensation in the bladder after SCI. Bladder sensations include bladder fullness, contraction, pain due to inflammation, stones. Many patients do have some bladder sensation and this is important the muscle in the bladder can be trained and made stronger for bladder emptying. Complete bladder emptying is important to prevent UTIs.

Dr. Rami Al-Ahmar, a doctor in Jordan, spoke about the need to avoid the use of Foleys and indwelling catheters, prevent constipation and have a stable bladder management routine as a way to reduce bladder pressure and prevent infections.  Bladder augmentation surgery can be done when leakage due to high volume is a problem but this procedure is not recommended.

Dr. Fiona Stephenson highlighted the importance of intermittent catheterization to lower bladder pressure and risk for UT (lemon juice. “It is important to draw the catheter slowly so there is no urine left in the bladder to prevent UTIs”.  To avoid infections sip fluids throughout the day and take vitamin C (lemon juice) if symptoms worsen seek medical help.



Denise Tate, PhD, ABPP, FACRM

Associate Chair of Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Associate Chair for Research
Countries of Interest: Brazil, German, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Argentina, Chile