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Urinary and Genital Disorders (Children)

Constant need for the toilet

08/19/2008

Question:

My daughter is 5 and has had a few urine infections over the last 3 years, but recently she has been unable to control her bladder. She is constantly wetting because she is unable to hold until she gets to a nearby toilet. It seems that when she says she needs the loo that means she has to go. Recently she has been complaining of tummyache too. I make sure she drinks plenty of water. What can I do?

Answer:

It sounds like she may have an overactive bladder, which is common in 5-year-old children. However, these symptoms could be due to a urinary infection, so the first thing that needs to be done is to get a urine culture.

Subsequently, I would record her when she is voiding throughout the day, and whether she is wet or dry before she voids, for 1-2 weeks. Also, record whether she is wet overnight. Also, record her bowel movements.

If she has an overactive bladder, occasionally medication is used for bladder control. It sounds like she needs to be seen by a pediatric urologist or a pediatric urotherapist. She also might benefit from a renal and bladder 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