Frequent Urination In Children: Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

Frequent Urination In Children

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Let’s face it. As mothers we get upset, maybe even angry, if our children want to go wee-wee at the most inopportune times. When you’re at a friend’s place, the grocery store, at the movies, or at a restaurant, invariably your kids will seem to demand a toilet break. And, until you satisfy their needs, you will get no peace. This is, of course, a typical scenario most mothers experience as children need to empty their bladder every two to four hours [1]. But, what happens if your child wants to wee every few minutes? Your kid could be suffering from frequency or frequent urination.

So here, MomJunction sheds light on some important information about frequent urination in children. Read on to learn more.

Frequent Urination In Children:

If your child discharges large or small amounts of urine frequently, he suffers from frequency. If your child urinates more than seven times a day, it is a case of frequent urination [2]. In most cases, frequent urination usually is a symptom of urinary tract infection (UTI), And, UTIs are more common in girls than boys. The condition can also occur due to undiagnosed diabetes.

If your kid wears a diaper, you may not know he suffers from frequent urination. But, you will know about it once you begin potty training your little one. Of course, by then you’ll begin to panic. Understanding frequent urination in kids will help you seek the right course of treatment, which resolves the underlying cause.

[ Read: Urinary Tract Infection In Children ]

Causes Of Frequent Urination In Children:

If your child complains of frequent urination, it is important to take his concern seriously. Yes, it might be true that some kids may purposefully urinate to get more attention, and that happens when the mother devotes more time and focus to a younger sibling or her work. This attention seeking behavior, thankfully, occurs in rare cases, and you can correct it with your parenting skills.

Frequent urination, on the other hand, is usually due to an underlying health issue, and it requires medical evaluation and intervention. UTIs remain the primary reason for frequent urination, but there are several other causes. Here, we list some probable ones:

1. Urinary Tract Infection:

One of the symptoms of a urinary tract infection is frequent urination, accompanied by pain while urinating, burning sensation, fever, and abdominal pain. Kids are prone to UTIs, particularly girls, as they haven’t learned to squat in public toilets. Also, improper cleaning after a bowel movement (back to front instead of front to back) can cause rectal bacteria to migrate into the urethra and bladder, leading to infection.

Thankfully, you can get rid of the infection with the help of antibiotics. However, make sure your pediatrician prescribes it after the urinalysis and a confirmed diagnosis.

2. Constipation:

If your kid suffers from constipation, the accumulated feces will turn hard and exert pressure on the bladder. This, in turn, will cause bladder spasms, leading to frequent urination.

So, ensure that your little one eats fiber-rich food and drinks enough water to prevent constipation. Persistent constipation is not a good sign. You should consult your pediatrician to learn about the reason for constipation. Also, if your child complains of pain while passing stool, he needs medical evaluation. The pain could be why your kid is controlling bowel movements, which cause frequent urination.

[ Read: Constipation In Children ]

3. Diabetes Insipidus:

Diabetes insipidus occurs due to insufficient amounts of anti-diuretic hormone, which controls the output of urine from the kidneys. If your child has this condition, he will discharge significant amounts of diluted urine along with insatiable thirst. Other symptoms include dehydration, poor growth, irritability, poor feeding, and high fevers.

The symptoms are quite similar to other medical conditions; the doctor may suggest a urine test, blood test, or a water deprivation test, which the doctor will perform while your kid stays in the hospital.

[ Read: Diabetes In Children ]

4. Voiding Dysfunction:

Some children develop a habit of not emptying their bladders. This is not a medical condition. Rather, it is a psychological behavior of the child, who may feel that spending even slightest time in the restroom will make him miss out on something more important. Children with this condition (or behavior) tend to urinate enough to relieve pressure in their bladder. Hence, over time, the sphincter muscle that allows you to hold urine may become overactive, and trigger frequent urination.

If you suspect your child has this condition, it is important to help him understand better toilet practices. Encourage your child to empty his bladder completely, and put him on a schedule so that he urinates every two to three hours.

5. Diabetes Mellitus:

Polyuria is a symptom of diabetes mellitus, which involves frequent urination but in large amounts. The other symptoms of diabetes mellitus include polydipsia (drinking more fluids than usual, basically having more than normal thirst), polyphagia (unexplained increase in hunger), and drastic weight loss.

The urine of children contains glucose and ketones, which a urinalysis can detect quite easily. If the doctor suspects diabetes, he may also recommend testing your kid’s fasting and non-fasting blood sugar levels.

6. Pollakiuria:

Pollakiuria mostly affects children in the age group of three to eight years. This condition causes frequent daytime urination. Your kid may go to the toilet at least 10 to 30 times a day, but discharge just small amounts of urine. There are no other symptoms of Pollakiuria. So, don’t expect your child to complain of a tummy pain or burning sensation.

There is little information on what causes Pollakiuria, but experts believe stress plays a role. Doctors feel this condition doesn’t require treatment, as the frequent urination disappears in three months. Since the child experiences increased daytime urination, the condition is also known as Extraordinary Daytime Urinary Frequency Syndrome.

7. Vulvovaginitis:

Vulvovaginitis is the irritation of the skin in and around the vagina for girls and the opening of the urethra for boys. This condition can cause symptoms similar to any urinary tract infection, and frequent urination is one of them. This condition usually occurs in girls before puberty when the skin around the vaginal area becomes highly sensitive.

Common irritants such as soap or shampoo may cause inflammation of the skin, and lead to vulvovaginitis. Poor toilet hygiene, not wiping or wiping incorrectly after urination can cause vulvovaginitis. [3]

[ Read: Personal Hygiene Tips For Kids ]

Symptoms That May Occur With Frequent Urination:

Frequent urination is often indicative of an underlying medical condition that needs medical treatment. This is the reason in most cases, frequency in urination comes with other symptoms that allow the doctor to perform the differential diagnosis.

These other symptoms may include burning sensation while passing urine, fever, pain while urinating, abdominal pain, and urgent need to urinate. There may also be a change in the appearance of the urine. The urine may appear cloudy and have an odor.

There could also be cases of bed wetting, unexplained thirst or sudden weight loss. These symptoms indicate that the frequent urination needs a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosing Frequent Urination In Children:

1. Urinalysis:

If your child is showing symptoms of frequent urination with or without any accompanying systems, it is advisable to visit your pediatrician. In most cases, the pediatrician may suggest a urine test or a urinalysis to identify the cause of the frequent urination.

2. Urine Culture:

If the symptoms also indicate a possibility of a urinary tract infect, your pediatrician may also suggest a urine culture test along with urinalysis. This will help in identifying the bacteria causing the infection.

3. Blood Test:

On the other hand, if the doctor feels your child may have diabetes, he will suggest getting a blood test. He will ask your child to come for fasting and non-fasting blood test. So ensure you follow your healthcare provider’s advice to the T.

Treatment For Frequent Urination:

The most common cause of frequent urination is a urinary tract infection. This is the reason doctors will prescribe an antibiotic to resolve the infection [4].

If the problem is due to improper hygiene, it involves teaching the child the right method of cleaning his (or her) genitals.

Another aspect here would be to encourage children to practice healthy bathroom habits. You should encourage your child to use the restroom every two to three hours. It will also help to ensure that you don’t let your child drink too many liquids unnecessarily.

Treatment of children with Type 1 diabetes requires following a proper diet, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, and use of medications such as insulin that balance the blood sugar levels.

Prevention Of Frequent Urination In Children:

Preventing frequent urination in a child often involves various measures. This helps with the underlying cause of the frequency, which is nothing but a symptom of the problem.

Here are some tips that will help prevent the problem of frequent urination in your kid:

  • Maintaining proper hygiene is essential. Train your child from the very beginning on the importance of cleaning his (or her) genital area properly after using the restroom each time, whether while urinating or having a bowel movement.
  • Bubble baths and soapy water may irritate the genital region. It is hence, advisable to avoid frequent bubble baths or to use too much soap over the genital area.
  • Avoid tight underpants. This is particularly true for girls.
  • If your baby wears diapers, change the diapers frequently.
  • If your child develops a UTI, increase your child’s water intake. Water can flush out the infection-causing bacteria.
  • As a general guideline, encourage your child not to hold back urine and to empty his or her bladder completely.

Pollakiuria In Children:

Pollakiuria is a condition that deals with frequent daytime urination [5]. This generally affects children in the age group of three to eight years. The child affected with this condition may urinate too frequently, even if that means the amount of urination is too little. The cause of Pollakiuria is unknown, but it may require urination about 10 to 30 times in a day.

Typically speaking, Pollakiuria is a benign condition and often appears as numerous small voids in a potty-trained toddler. There is often no other underlying condition other than the need to urinate frequently. Doctors do not believe in treating Pollakiuria with drugs as the condition resolves on its own in about seven to 12 months.

Symptoms of Pollakiuria In Children:

The children exhibiting Pollakiuria do not have any other discomfort. This is the reason it can be difficult for some doctors to diagnose it. As stated earlier, doctors believe Pollakiuria occurs due to stress.
Some of the symptoms that Pollakiuria causes include:

  • A distinct change in the normal voiding pattern. Most children with Pollakiuria show interruptions in their normal, everyday bladder voiding routine. Sometimes, even their school tends to get affected
  • Average frequency of urination is about 15 to 20 minutes, but may also be as quick as every five minutes
  • The condition is most common among children aged five to six years, but can start at any time from the age of three to eight years
  • Each time, the amount of urine discharge is rather small
  • The urine color, stream and odor show no abnormality
  • Urination may be frequent in the night too, leading to bedwetting. However, the frequency may not be as much as daytime urination
  • Children do not show signs of incontinence.
  • There is no change in bowel movements
  • There is no abdominal pain or dysuria
  • The normal voiding pattern of your child
  • When did you notice a change in the bladder voiding routine?
  • Any history of urinary tract infection?
  • Number and frequency of voids
  • If your child also shows signs of polydypsia, abdominal pain or flank pain
  • Any sign of dysuria?

[ Read: E Coli infection In Children ]

Diagnosis For Pollakiuria In Children:

Children with Pollakiuria have symptoms similar to diabetes mellitus or a UTI. Diagnosis of Pollakiuria involves a physical examination along with urinalysis.

1. Physical Examination And Medical History:

Your child’s pediatrician may ask your questions about your child to analyze his (or her) medical history. Physical evaluation then follows. The pediatrician may ask you questions about:

2. Urinalysis:

Your child will have to give urine sample so that the pathologist can analyze it in the laboratory for:

  • Normal urine specific gravity
  • Urine glucose
  • Presence of hematuria, proteinuria or WBCs
  • Presence of urine calcium
  • Collect the urine sample mid-stream in the sample container. If you aren’t taking the sample to the lab right away, store it in the refrigerator. However, make sure it reaches the lab within 24 hours.
  • Your pediatrician may also conduct a neurological examination of the lower extremities to find out whether Pollakiuria has a neurological cause.

Causes Of Pollakiuria:

While there is no particular cause for Pollakiuria, the following conditions may trigger it:

  • Chemical urethritis
  • Abnormal urine composition
  • Non-bacterial cysts
  • Heightened bladder sensitivity
  • Social and emotional stress. The most common psychogenic triggers include school problems, academic difficulties, emotional problems at home, changes in conditions at home like a death loved family member or birth of a new sibling

How Can YouHelp Your Child With Pollakiuria?

If you identify Pollakiuria in your child, you should understand that the condition is not a medical condition but more of a psychological reaction to a stressful situation. As parents, it will be easier for you to discuss the concerns with your child help him or her get over his Pollakiuria condition.

Here are a few important measures that you can adopt in this regard:

1. Assurance:

Assure your little one that he is physically healthy. When children have Pollakiuria, they often get a stressed even further. They start losing self-confidence. If your child is old enough to understand, he (or she) may start feeling they have a physical deformity. It is important you explain to your child that his body, his kidneys, and other organs are working just fine. Reassure your child that he is as healthy as any other child and the condition is temporary and will disappear in due course.

2. Encouragement:

Encourage your child to wait a bit longer to urinate. Children often fear wetting their pants. It is important that you encourage your child to try and hang on a little longer every time he (or she) experiences the urge to urinate. Try helping your kid increase the duration between urinations. This way, you can help your child go back to his usual three-hour interval between each time he urinates, thereby going back to his normal routine.

3. Pacify:

Help your child calm down. Frequent urination is due to stress. So it will help if you reduce the stress in your child’s life by allowing him to relax and calm down. Do not overburden your child with your expectations. If you feel your child is stressed or experiencing peer pressure, talk to him and help him understand that he needn’t be a star performer every time and everywhere. Try to create a more harmonious environment at home.

4. Empathize:

Understand your child’s concerns. Figure out the reason that could be possibly triggering the situation or stressing him out. You can do this by talking and communicating with your little one. Some of the reasons that can stress out kids include:

  • Death in the family
  • A recent accident
  • Stress in marriage of the parents
  • New school
  • Peer pressure
  • New sibling
  • Ailing, sick parent

5. Ignore:

Ignore the frequency of urination. Yes, it seems counterproductive, but don’t embarrass your kid by making his urination a talking point at home. Warn other family members not to speak of it. This is especially true for siblings who may want to tease their brother about his frequency of urination.

When Should You Contact A Healthcare Provider For Pollakiuria?

In most cases, Pollakiuria resolves on its own. However, sometimes you may have to consult your pediatrician if:

  • The frequency does not go back to normal in a month’s time
  • The frequency comes with a burning sensation
  • Bedwetting becomes regular affair
  • Your child starts feeling too thirsty and drinks too many liquids
  • Very frequent and over consumption of caffeine
  • Food allergies
  • Constipation
  • Structural problems with urinary bladder
  • Small bladder with lower fluid-holding capacity
  • Genetics
  • Sleep apnea
  • UTI
  • Muscle spasms
  • Not going to the restroom when the urge comes

Pollakiuria Treatment In Children:

Pollakiuria does not always involve rigorous or defined treatment. The condition eases on its own in about a few weeks. If the child is experiencing occasional incontinence, anticholinergics (oxybutynin and propantheline) may prove to be useful.

Identifying the emotional trigger or stressor is important to eliminate Pollakiuria. You may want your child to get professional counseling that will teach him to deal and handle stress better.

FAQs On Frequent Urination In Children:

1. Frequent Urination In Boys:

If you notice your son urinating six to seven times an hour, it is a case of frequent urination. As stated earlier, boys are not as prone to UTIs as girls. However, they can get an infection of the opening of the penis called meatitis. This causes the opening to get inflamed, leading to frequent urination.

Boys can also suffer from constipation, which you can correct by ensuring your little one eat fiber-rich diet and drinks plenty of water.

However, if the frequent urination comes with pain and discomfort, it is prudent to take your son to a pediatric urologist for evaluation. It could be an infection in the bladder or urethra. Also, uncontrollable thirst could point to diabetes.

2. Child Frequent Urination No Pain:

Frequent urination without pain is not something serious. Usually, it is due to an overactive bladder.

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition that your child can develop. This condition can cause a sudden urge to urinate, often causing an embarrassment to your kid.

Symptoms of OAB in children can be similar to those of a grown up, but it can be more disruptive for little ones. Since the condition may tentatively cause daytime accidents in school, it may impact your child’s emotional and social well-being.

Overactive bladder may seem similar to frequent urination, but it is not. In kids with OAB, accidents occur longer. Such kids may also experience urinary incontinence when they sneeze, or they may become frequent bedwetters.

OAB can be due to urinary tract infections. Since nerves control the bladder, OAB can occur due to a neurological disorder. Pollakiuria is another condition that can cause overactive bladder. As mentioned above, this condition results in frequent urination with no other symptom.OAB can also occur due to: [6]

3. Frequent Urination In Children During The Day:

Usually, children between the ages of four and five can suffer from frequent urination during the day. Your child may start urinating every 10 to 30 minutes, with the frequency being as high as 30 to 40 times a day.

Daytime frequent urination does not come with pain, and your child may pass small amounts of urine every time he goes to the restroom.

More often than not, frequent urination in children during the day is due to emotional stress. The urination is an involuntary symptom that may develop a day or two after the stress-causing event. There is no need to panic as you could worsen the condition. Instead, reassure your child, and take him to your pediatrician. A urinalysis will help rule out infection.

4. Sudden Frequent Urination In Children:

If your child shows sudden, frequent urination, he could be suffering from diabetes mellitus. However, this sudden increase in frequency comes with other associated symptoms, such as weight loss, increased appetite, increased fluid consumption and the onset of bedwetting.

Even if your child doesn’t exhibit other symptoms, it is crucial you consult a pediatrician. As there is a reason for sudden, frequent urination, and a healthcare provider is the best source to diagnose and treat the cause.

5. Frequent Urination In Children At Night:

Nocturia or frequent urination at night in children can result in bedwetting. Your child may suffer from nocturia due to a urinary tract infection, have an overactive bladder, have a small bladder capacity or even suffer from emotional stress. Even neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, and kidney infection can lead to frequent urination in children at night.

Some children can suffer from nocturia due to sleep apnea. So if you manage to bring sleep apnea under control, frequent urination at night will disappear on its own.

Make sure your child is not consuming too many fluids before going to bed. Also, prevent him from drinking caffeinated drinks, as it can lead to nocturia. It is best to consult a physician to diagnose the cause of nocturia.

6. Frequent Urge To Urinate In Children:

In case, your kid displays frequent urge to urinate, consult a pediatric urologist. If your child doesn’t have infection and diabetes, the urge could have behavioral reasons. This comes from consuming large amounts of fluids unnecessarily, resulting in frequent urge. Other children, especially boys between the ages of three and a half and four years, are fascinated with the process of urination. This habit can last for about six months before it disappears.

If the doctor doesn’t find anything strange in the urinalysis, it is best to restrict your child’s fluid intake or get through this phase of fascination. You can also adopt retention control where you encourage your kid to control the urine as long as possible to increase the capacity of the bladder. Regardless of the measure you choose, make sure you get the go-ahead from your pediatric urologist before using it.

In Conclusion:

Frequent urination can be an embarrassment for your child and you. However, it is crucial you believe and also convince your kid the situation is a temporary one that will soon become a distant memory. Be a pillar of support for your child and help him through this stage of his life. Isn’t that what parents do?

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