Children suffering from an overactive bladder have a tough time while trying to control their urge to urinate. According to pediatricians, around 20% children suffer from urinary incontinence. This article outlines the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of urinary incontinence in children.
Overactive bladder condition can lead to emotional distress in children. Though this condition may get better over a period of time, but for some it may continue up to their adulthood. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult a pediatrician who will help you in deciding the severity of the problem. Urinary incontinence is a condition, which is caused by the sudden contraction of the muscles surrounding the urethra, which aggravate the problem by causing urinary tract infection too. This condition can also be caused by excess emotional stress, stopping the urge of urination, consuming coffee, constipation and small bladder capacity. Holding the urine is caused when children do not want to interrupt their play time thus creating this problem. So in some of the children, this condition is treated by bladder training but for certain cases, medication is required.
Causes and Symptoms
Apart from the above causes, there can be other causes which can result in this condition; for instance – anomalies in the nervous system, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, diabetic neuropathy and multiple sclerosis. Even while the nervous system is functioning normally, the child can suffer from this condition. For instance, tumor, bladder stones and urinary tract infection can cause the bladder to become overactive. While understanding the causes, it is also necessary to learn about the symptoms of this condition. The main symptoms are increased urination more than 8 times in a day and more than once at night. Because of this problem, children may suffer from fatigue and may not be able to concentrate on their activities.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The doctor will review the medical history of the patient and also inquire about the symptoms faced. Then the doctor will perform a physical examination, urine tests to check for infection and a neurological exam, which will test the sensory problems faced by the child. If the doctor is unable to derive any solution to the problem, he/she might recommend a visit to a urologist. The urologist then performs advanced tests, which include X-ray images of the bladder, measuring the urine flow rate or testing the bladder pressure. After these tests, the doctor will decide on the treatment options available to the patient. The pediatrician might suggest further treatment options like scheduled trips to toilet in order to time the urge perfectly, fluid intake time which include restricting fluids before going to sleep, waiting for some time after emptying the bladder and avoiding caffeine completely.
Also parent’s may be advised to find out about the stress which is hampering the child’s bladder. In other cases, where the child is above 5 years, drugs like oxybutynin is used to treat this problem. As the child can experience certain side effects like headaches, weakness, nausea or constipation, it is very necessary to discuss this treatment option with your pediatrician in detail. If an overactive bladder is caused due to a bladder infection, the doctor might prescribe some antibiotics for some days after which the problem might clear up.
In majority of children, doctor’s have found out that ‘bed wetting’ is related to an overactive bladder. Here, treatments like moisture alarms are suggested by the doctor. Moisture alarms have sensitive water pads and a wire installed to the control unit, which beeps when the area is moist, waking the child. Another alternative is a drug called desmopressin, which is available in form of nasal sprays. Another drug called imipramine has produced effective results by lowering the bed wetting problem in children by 70%.
As medical science has advanced, there are many options available to overcome this condition. The important point here is that parent’s should provide moral support to their children while facing this problem. Also, stressful atmosphere if faced by a child, should be avoided as it not only creates such problems, but also hampers the development of the child. This condition is common in girls as well as boys and with proper treatment this condition can be cured.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purpose only, and does not in any way attempt to replace the diagnosis of a doctor. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.