Helping Kids Cope with Overactive Bladders

When an overactive bladder keeps your child close to a bathroom, it can force him or her to limit activities — making participation in sleepovers, sports and other social situations very difficult. But you can help your child take control of the situation.

In overactive bladder (OAB), nerves signal the bladder at the wrong time, causing its muscles to squeeze without warning.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling a sudden, strong need to urinate immediately
  • Experiencing incontinence (losing urine) after a strong, sudden urge
  • Urinating eight or more times a day
  • Waking two or more times at night to urinate

See a doctor

This common bladder condition affects both sexes, but girls are more prone to experience incontinence. As with adults, children and adolescents with OAB may be embarrassed to get help, or believe nothing can be done.

“Overactive bladder symptoms do not have to limit your activities or negatively impact your quality of life,” says Lynn Woo, MD, a pediatric urologist who specializes in caring for teenage girls with urological conditions at University Hospitals Urology Institute’s Pediatric Urology Center at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

“It is important to rule out any underlying problems with the bladder first, but OAB is a very treatable condition,” adds Dr. Woo.

Pediatric Urology Center staff members thoroughly evaluate patients while keeping their comfort a priority.

The Pediatric Urology Center offers a variety of treatment options for OAB. Medications, Botox injections and implantable neuromodular devices can help regulate bladder function. Some patients may need surgery to lower bladder pressure and improve its storage ability. Pediatric psychological support is also available to help adolescents and teens cope with the challenges associated with OAB.

woo-lynn Lynn Woo, MD
Pediatric Urologist
UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital

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