You’re running errands with your 4-year-old, and he shares that he has to go to the bathroom — again — for the third time in the last 15 minutes. You start to wonder: Does he have a UTI? Could it be a bladder infection? Is he doing this for attention?
Symptoms like this can indicate an overactive bladder, which can cause urinary incontinence in both children and adults. However, in children the causes can be different.
“If you notice your child is using the restroom to urinate quite often, it could be for a multitude of reasons,” explains Dr. Ahmad Bailony, department chief of pediatrics at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. “The best response a pediatrician can have in this case is to conduct a complete history and physical, as well as a urinary analysis to rule out any serious issues.
Signs and symptoms of an overactive bladder in children:
- An abnormally frequent need to urinate
- The feeling that there is still urine that needs to come out
- A burning sensation when urinating
Causes of an overactive bladder in children:
- Muscle spasms near the bladder
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Type 1 diabetes
“Rarely will a toddler use bathroom breaks as a means for attention,” says Dr. Bailony. “This is why it’s best to receive a urine analysis from your pediatrician as it gives necessary information about a child’s kidney and bladder. It can also rule out something like Type 1 diabetes, which can present this way in childhood.”
Treatment of overactive bladders in children range from prescribed medication, bladder training or simply waiting for the issue to subside naturally.
If you’ve noticed your child experiencing the signs and symptoms of an overactive bladder, speak with your pediatrician to follow a treatment plan specific for your child.
For the news media: To talk with Dr. Bailony about children’s bladder issues for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.