Information on Urinary Incontinence in Children -

By: peterhutch

Parents or guardians of children who experience bedwetting at night or accidents during the day should treat this problem with understanding and patience. This loss of urinary control is called urinary incontinence or just incontinence. Although it affects many young people, it usually disappears naturally over time, which suggests that incontinence, for some people, may be a normal part of growing up. Incontinence at the normal age of toilet training may cause great distress. Daytime or nighttime incontinence can be embarrassing. It is important to understand that many children experience occasional incontinence and that treatment is available for most children who have difficulty controlling their bladders.

The bladder is made of two types of muscles: the detrusor, a muscular sac that stores urine and squeezes to empty, and the sphincter, a circular group of muscles at the bottom or neck of the bladder that automatically stay contracted to hold the urine in and automatically relax when the detrusor contracts to let the urine into the urethra. A third group of muscles below the bladder (pelvic floor muscles) can contract to keep urine back. A baby's bladder fills to a set point, then automatically contracts and empties. As the child gets older, the nervous system develops.

Inadequate control of urination in children who have reached an age where they should be capable of control (usually over the age of 5). Children with the condition often suffer from nighttime bedwetting but can also have urinary accidents during the day. Urinary incontinence is common and most outgrow the condition without any treatment. Many factors may contribute to the incontinence such as anxiety, overproduction of urine, small bladder capacity and sleep apnea.

Potty-trained children often get constipated simply because they refuse to go to the bathroom. The problem might stem from embarrassment over using a public toilet or unwillingness to stop playing and go to the bathroom. But if the child continues to hold in stool, the feces will accumulate and harden in the rectum. The child might have a stomachache and not eat much, despite being hungry. And when he or she eventually does pass the stool, it can be painful, which can lead to fear of having a bowel movement.

Some changes in eating habits may be necessary too. Your child should eat more high-fiber foods to soften stool, avoid dairy products if they cause constipation, and drink plenty of fluids every day, including water and juices like prune, grape, or apricot, which help prevent constipation. If necessary, the doctor may prescribe laxatives.

Bacterial urinary tract infections and viral infections that lead to bladder irritation (viral cystitis) are common infectious causes. To prevent urine from leaking, many children with incontinence cross their legs or use other postures, which may increase the chance of developing a urinary tract infection. Sexually active adolescents can have urinary difficulties from certain sexually transmitted diseases. Caffeine and acidic juices, such as orange and tomato juice, can irritate the bladder and lead to leakage of urine.

Certain inherited genes appear to contribute to incontinence. In 1995, Danish researchers announced they had found a site on human chromosome 13 that is responsible, at least in part, for nightime wetting. If both parents were bedwetters, a child has an 80 percent chance of being a bedwetter also. Experts believe that other, undetermined genes also may be involved in incontinence.

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