Pediatric Urinary Issues and Care

November 29,2021 |
Mom and daughter hugging.

When we think about urinary issues, we often think about incontinence associated with aging individuals, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and prostate problems. All of these are more common as we begin to age, but they can affect anyone with a urinary tract system. This includes children and even newborns. Urologic conditions are disproportionately more common in older adults—especially those with underlying conditions—but they can and do affect children of all ages. Pediatric urinary issues can be difficult to diagnose depending on a child’s age due to communication skills and an inability to understand symptoms. Therefore, it’s important that parents do what they can to familiarize themselves with symptoms that may be indicative of a problem. Here, we’ll discuss some common pediatric urinary issues and care.

What is Pediatric Urology?

Pediatric urology is a specialization of urology that focuses on diagnosing, treating, and caring for urologic problems that affect infants, children, and young adolescents. There is additional training required to specialize in pediatric urology, allowing practitioners to have a stronger understanding of underdeveloped urinary tract systems or urinary tract systems that are still in the process of maturation. Due to the nature of their work, pediatric urologists are also well versed in talking to and interacting with young children or teens about any issues or symptoms they may be experiencing.

Pediatric Urinary Issues to Understand

Pediatric urology encompasses a number of different health issues that can affect children of all ages, but parents need to be aware of these issues, so they know when to seek help from professionals. Some common urologic conditions in children include bladder dysfunctions, urinary tract infections, bedwetting, and more.

Bladder Dysfunction

Bladder dysfunction is a blanket term that’s used to describe a range of problems with how the bladder holds and releases urine. Children tend to show a variety of different symptoms that indicate bladder dysfunction, especially in regard to wetting accidents. Some of the most common symptoms of bladder dysfunction amongst children include the following:


  • Daytime wetting – the loss of bladder control in children while they’re awake.
  • Frequency – urinating more than eight times throughout the day.
  • Giggle incontinence – urine leakage during laughter.
  • Hesitancy – difficulty in beginning urination.
  • Holding maneuvers – behaviors such as squatting, leg crossing, and holding the genital area to avoid going to the bathroom.
  • Infrequency – urinating fewer than three times throughout the day.
  • Intermittent urine stream – inconsistent flow of urine.
  • Post-micturition dribbling – leaks of urine that occur from sitting down or urinating while moving the legs.
  • Straining – difficulty releasing urine.
  • Urgency – sudden, unexpected need to urinate.
  • Weak urine stream – weak or slow flow of urine.


Bladder dysfunction should be properly diagnosed so that it can be treated. This will reduce complications and further problems, which could carry on into adulthood and worsen over time. Talk to your child’s pediatric urologist regarding treatment for any of the above bladder dysfunction symptoms and make sure that you keep an eye on children for signs of further problems. Most treatment options begin with lifestyle changes and medications, but there are other options to help reduce symptoms of more severe conditions. Bladder dysfunctions are also commonly referred to as voiding dysfunctions and can range in both severity and frequency.

Urinary Tract Infections

Another common occurrence in many children is urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections occur when bacterium is trapped in the urethra. UTIs are the second most common bacterial infection in children and can cause pain during urination and an increased frequency in urination. Many parents begin to notice that their children may have a UTI due to an increased number of trips to the bathroom or any physical attempts to soothe the irritation they’re feeling. Your child may also verbally communicate that something is wrong, but this depends on age and development levels. Make sure that you take your child in for diagnostic testing so that you can get started on treatment for urinary tract infections that are present.


Bedwetting is fairly normal for children, especially when there is a family history of the occurrence. It’s considered normal in children under the age of five but may be considered indicative of a bladder control problem if it persists. Parents should consider seeing a pediatric urologist if your child is over the age of five, wets the bed two to three times a month for three months or longer, or begins wetting the bed again after experiencing six months of dry nights. During diagnosis, the urologist will check for signs of an underlying medical condition that could be causing nighttime wetting along with any potential anatomical issues that may create bladder control problems. Bedwetting may or may not be accompanied with other bowel movements, but if they have both daytime and nighttime accidents, see a doctor as soon as possible to ensure that there are no functional problems occurring within the nerves of the bladder.

Changes in Urine Color

Some parents may notice that the color of their children’s urine changes throughout the week or even day. This can be indicative of dehydration or illness along with overall diet or medication side effects. Consider monitoring the color of their urine to keep track of changes and contact your doctor if you notice anything that may indicate a problem. If your child’s urine is extremely dark, make sure that they’re drinking enough water throughout the day. If your child’s urine is a reddish-brown color, consider what they’ve eaten that day before assuming that it’s blood. Odor and clarity of urine commonly change due to food intake, medications, or even diseases. If your child shows any signs of diabetes and has a sweet or fruity smelling urine, contact your doctor immediately for testing.

Caring for and Treating Pediatric Urinary Issues

Treatment and overall care for pediatric urinary issues depend on the specifications of what’s wrong. Many mild cases of common conditions may lead to observation instead of prompt action to see if things can correct themselves naturally. Some pediatric urinary issues tend to go away on their own over time, but if your child is in severe discomfort, it’s understandable that you want to help. Each problem will be approached individually and treated, as necessary. In the case of severe symptoms that are causing high levels of pain or discomfort, medications or surgery may be recommended.

Lifestyle changes are another great way to help treat common urologic conditions in children, especially in the case of overactive bladder. Eliminate caffeine from sugary drinks or other sources and instead, choose healthy, sugar-free beverages to help avoid bladder irritation. You should also never ask your child to hold their urine and always get them to a bathroom as fast as possible if they express the need to go. Delaying urination can be problematic for the development of the urinary tract and increases the risk of infection. If lifestyle changes are not enough, there are medications created specifically for treating overactive bladder in children. Discuss any and all side effects with your doctor prior to administering them. There are plenty of options available to help you find something you’re comfortable with.

If your child suffers from uncoordinated voiding, lifestyle changes are recommended along with the possibility of intermittent catheterization. Your doctor will work with you so that you fully understand how to use pediatric intermittent catheterization with your child.

In some instances, lifestyle treatments and medications are not enough. There are other options to address pediatric urinary issues, but they should be discussed thoroughly with your doctor prior to moving forward. While alternative therapies are fairly simple and effective, they may sound intimidating and scary for parents and young children.

Once your child reaches a certain age, you’ll need to transition from pediatric urology to adult care. This is especially important for children who suffer from chronic conditions and may need to continue treatment into adulthood. While the transition can be intimidating at first, working with a doctor whose focus is on the adult urologic condition can allow for the proper care and treatment plans.

If you notice any signs or symptoms of urologic problems in your child, call your doctor immediately. Pediatric urinary issues require a proper diagnosis to ensure that the correct treatment is being administered. Regardless of if you were diagnosed with a urologic condition as a child, adolescent, or adult, Byram Healthcare has the products and support you need to live a happy, healthy life. Our mission is to help improve health outcomes and affordability of care for people living with chronic diseases.