What causes voiding dysfunction?
Sometimes, the disruption of the voiding cycle may be the result of a neurological problem. This could be the result of an abnormality of the spinal cord or brain that affects how nerves help control the function of the bladder and urinary sphincter.
However, it’s more often a learned problem. For example, your child may continually hold his urine in all day because he doesn’t want to stop playing to go to the bathroom.
Children get into this routine for different reasons:
- Some may be routinely too busy to break for the bathroom.
- Others may have experienced a urinary tract infection that caused pain and as a result are afraid of urinating.
- Sometimes the problem is related to potty training.
- A child may have taken on abnormal urinating habits from the beginning.
A hard cycle to break
Whatever the reason, some children get into a pattern of not relaxing their external urethral sphincters. Their bladders can tolerate this for months and in some cases years, depending on how hard the child works to avoid urinating.
Eventually the bladder muscle, which has to continually work against this voluntary blockage, will become so strong that it will overcome the blockage and periodically empty on its own, whether the child is sitting in a classroom or out on the soccer field.
What are the symptoms of voiding dysfunction?
Incontinence during the day and night may be the first sign that there is a problem.
Other symptoms include:
- urinary tract infection
- frequent urination
- urgent urination
- pain or straining with urination
- intermittent urine flow
- pain in the back, flank or abdomen
- blood in the urine