Symptoms and Causes

What are Common Symptoms of Bladder Dysfunction?

Children with bladder dysfunction may have a range of symptoms. Common problems are:

  • Daytime wetting: the loss of bladder control in grown children during awake hours. Daytime wetting affects up to 20 percent of 4 to 6-year-old children.
  • Frequency: when a child has to urinate more than 8 times during awake hours.
  • Giggle Incontinence: urine leaks out by accident with laughter.
  • Hesitancy: difficulty starting or taking a long time to start urinating.
  • Holding maneuvers: the child does things to avoid going to the bathroom, such as squatting, leg crossing or holding the genital area.
  • Infrequency: when a child doesn't urinate enough during awake hours (fewer than three times).
  • Intermittent urine stream: the flow of urine occurs in bursts rather than a normal continuous stream.
  • Post-micturition dribbling: leaks of urine that occur immediately from sitting position soon after going to the bathroom. This occurs primarily in girls. with either labial adhesions or when urinating while moving their legs.
  • Straining: difficulty getting urine out (a child may have to push or strain to go).
  • Urgency: a sudden, unexpected need to urinate.
  • Weak urine stream: the flow of urine is weak or slow.

How are Constipation and Bladder Dysfunction Related?

Constipation is one of the most common causes for bladder dysfunction in children. Constipation is when a child may have:

  • Fewer than two bowel movements a week
  • Stools that are hard, dry and small and may be painful or difficult to pass

This problem is very common in children, especially with picky eaters who avoid high fiber foods. Problems with bowel movements and bladder function are often linked and is known as bladder bowel dysfunction (BBD). These reasons link both problems:

  • The rectum is behind the bladder. When there is a large amount of stool in the rectum, it can push on the bladder. The bladder can't hold as much urine in this case. This pressure can cause urinary frequency.
  • The pelvic floor muscles control both the bladder sphincter and anal sphincter. Children who feel pain when they have a bowel movement will tend to hold in their stool. This action, in turn, holds in urine by tightening the bladder sphincter, which can cause urinary infrequency.