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Urinary and Genital Disorders (Children)

Feeling need to urinate

09/18/2007

Question:

My son is 11 years old, very healthy, a great athlete. Every now and then, maybe twice in the last three months, he will have an evening in which he tells me he feels the need to urinate every 2-3 minutes, but nothing comes out. He will be tortured by this for the entire evening, but then it will be gone by the time he wakes up in the morning and I hear nothing else about it for some length of time. He had another episode last night, and I am really starting to wonder what can be causing this. He says there is no pain or burning when he does urinate, and he does not complain of any other physical symptoms. He is not currently sick with anything, nor was he sick the last couple of times this happened. Any ideas?

Answer:

There are many possible causes, but nearly all of them are not serious. Sometimes anxiety or something in the diet (e.g., caffeine, excess calcium) can cause these symptoms. Another possibility is constipation. If it persists, he should be seen by a urologist, who may want to check the residual urine volume in the bladder by office ultrasound.

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Response by:

Jack S Elder, MD, FACS, FAAP Jack S Elder, MD, FACS, FAAP
Clinical Professor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University