Daytime urinary leakage (incontinence) is a frustrating and embarrassing problem for many children. Leaking of urine can start at an early age. Young children who experience daytime wetting usually will say they had absolutely no warning and no idea they were going to pee. In most cases, they waited too long before using the restroom and the bladder had a sudden urge to empty. Young children are often involved and focused on tasks, and ignore the subtle body messages that tell them their bladder is getting full. Warning signs include grabbing their privates, squirming and having to pee quickly.
The best treatment for all children with daytime leakage is to instruct them to have frequent and relaxed bathroom habits. A “pit stop” or a non-relaxed bathroom visit is most likely the culprit. Diapers, pull-ups, and padded underwear should only be used for isolated situations. Parents and children should be encouraged to treat the problem, and not just hide the leakage.
Medications can be used to treat urinary accidents in children. These medications are intended to relax the bladder, and give children more of a warning to get to the restroom. These medications are the same that adults use for the “overactive bladder.” Oxybutynin (Ditropan, Oxytrol), tolterodine (Detrol) and hyoscyamine (Levsin) are the most commonly used drugs for this purpose. These medications may be of some benefit since they do relax the bladder. However, they can have side effects that are problematic, namely constipation, and their routine use should be discouraged.
Dr. Smith is board certified and he has authored or co-authored many articles, papers, chapters, and books in Urology and Pediatric Urology. His research has been presented throughout the world. Dr. Smith’s dedication to helping children with urologic problems inspired him to establish PottyMD.