Urinary problems are fairly common among young children. While children are potty training and learning personal hygiene there are several different urinary issues that can occur. Even older school-age children occasionally experience problems. It is important to consult your child's doctor if you suspect there may be something wrong with your child's urinary system, as even slight infections can become serious if left untreated.
Urinary incontinence is common in young children and is usually not a cause for concern. Preschool, and even some kindergarten-age children are still developing the muscles needed to control urine flow. It is normal for a fully potty trained child to have an occasional accident. Often, young children simply ignore the urge to go until it is too late because they are engaged in an activity they don't want to leave. Occasionally incontinence is caused by structural problems in the bladder, so it is important to talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about your child's incontinence.
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are another common urinary problem in young children. A UTI is caused by bacteria entering the urethra—the tube from which urine leaves the body. This bacteria can sometimes be the result of poor hygiene, so it is important to teach children, particularly girls, proper bathroom hygiene. If your child is experiencing pain when urinating, is frequently urinating but only producing small amount of urine and is running a fever, she may have a UTI. It is important to take your child to the doctor right away, as untreated UTIs can lead to further complications.
Frequent urination in children often has a straightforward cause—the child is drinking extra fluids. Before becoming concerned about underlying causes, take note of how much your child is drinking. Another simple reason for frequent urination is your child's still-developing bladder control. He may not be able to hold liquid for very long periods of time. If there isn't a simple explanation for your child's frequent urination, you should talk to your pediatrician, because it can potentially be a sign of diabetes, kidney disease or a urinary tract infection.
Pain During Urination
Pain during urination in children is most often seen in young girls who are suffering from a condition called soap vulvitis. Soap vulvitis is caused by bubble baths or soaps that irritate the opening of your child's urethra. Thankfully the cure for this is simple—discontinue any soap use in your child's bath water, and teach her to clean her genital area using only warm water. In girls or boys, painful urination can be a sign of a urinary tract infection. If your child is ever experiencing pain during urination, contact your doctor.
Bed-wetting is usually not caused by any serious issues, though it can be quite embarrassing for the child. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, about 15 percent of children will wet the bed after the age of 3. In most cases, the problem will resolve itself. There are several brands of overnight diapers fashioned to look like underwear to help keep your child's bed dry. In rare cases, persistent bed-wetting can be caused by structural problems or even sleep apnea. Do not hesitate to contact your child's doctor if you are concerned.
- The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Facts for Families: Bedwetting
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Urinary Incontinence in Children
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Urinary Tract Infections in Children
- Night, Night! Dr. Hull's Common Sense Sleep Solutions: Frequent Urination