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Children's Health

Sudden Urine Incontinence

04/22/2010

Question:

Can severe constipation cause urine incontinence in a child who has had no problems with this and UTI free?

Answer:

Thank you for your question about sudden urinary incontinence in young children who were previously potty trained. There are many reasons why a child could have this condition.

A very common cause of incontinence is the bladder being too full from infrequent toileting. We have all seen a young child playing hard and ignoring the signs of their bladder being full and an accident occurring. Children tend to do this less as they get older, but sometimes children avoid toileting in places like school bathrooms or do not make time for toileting, and the problem occurs.

Urinary tract infection is also something to consider. Children often are sick with urinary tract infections with fever, decreased appetite, and even vomiting, but some children have milder illnesses with a urinary tract infection and should be checked by a provider for this condition.

Very hard stool or constipation can also be linked to bladder incontinence. The stool in the abdomen can put pressure on the bladder and cause it to leak.

Some food and drinks are linked to more difficulty with incontinence, such as caffeine.

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Response by:

Allison A Macerollo, MD Allison A Macerollo, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University