26 answers

Concern with My 8 Year Old Daughter's Frequent and Frustrating Bathroom Visits

Hi moms,
I wanted to know if any of you have dealt with your children constantly needing to go to the bathroom... I mean as often as every half and hour for urination. She also seems to have some trouble with constipation even though she eats a very balanced diet with fruits/fiber/veggies + probiotic yogurts.

She has always had this "trouble" since we started potty training years ago. I have mentioned it to our ped. and it was cast aside as children need to go frequently. This issue came to a head last week during our trip to Disney. I am not overexaggertating when I say that we spent almost equal amounts of time finding/rushing to a bathroom as we did enjoying the parks. Needless to say, my husband and I would get terribly frustrated and mad and then feeling terrible b/c she honestly does seem to need to go so often. I just feel that this can't be normal. She had a couple of accidents at school this year and I think this is related.

She has never had any UTI's that we know of (I mean you would know right, aren't they terribly painful?) and the research I find online suggest possibly diabetes or other very rare conditions. Is it possible for a child of 8 to have an overactive bladder?

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, I plan to call our ped. on Monday and explain my concerns (again) that this just doesn't seem normal. I don't want to be constantly running to find the nearest bathroom and being frustrated and angry with my daughter.

I ask her repeatedly if she is listening to her body and we do "maintence potty stops" before we go out somewhere constantly. It is not uncommmon for her to go at home and then 20 minutes later when we're out somewhere she has to go again.

Thanks in advance!

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First, a HUGE Thank You to all who chimed in on my post! I appreciate you all sharing your experiences with me, it really helped. So, we went to the ped. today and had a urine test done, and everything is fine. No sugar in the urine to signal diabetes or infection. They are going to send it out for a culture but doc thinks that she has a small bladder and combined with her difficulty passing stools, this is causing her to need to go so often. We are going to start using Miralax and see if that helps with the stools not putting so much pressure on the bladder. I feel much better about it and hopefully over the summer we may see some improvement. Our Dr. also wrote a note for her teacher next year to let my daughter use the bathroom as needed which I thought was very kind. Not that her teacher last year didn't, but it helps to have something "official" on her side and that she is not trying to escape the classroom to get out doing her work.
Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Does she have allergies? I grew up having allergies and I also had to use the bathroom frequently- even sometimes having accidents at night up until 10 or 11 years of age. I think the doctor said something about the allergies making the lining of the bladder swell and making you feel as if you have to go more frequently- just something to think about- I still have to go more often than most folks, by the way, so I just try to limit liquids, especially when driving a long way! Good luck-

I have to say I had that trouble with one of my daughters before, she had accidents as well. I took he to the Dr. and she had an UTI. Has she been tested? My daughter did not have pain with hers. It was her just having the accidents at school on the bus, so I took her in. Good Luck with finding out what it is.

Take care,

D.

I see that the other posts have talked about medical conditions she may have. My daugher had the same situation, but it was all in her head. Whenever she wasn't at home, she was so nervous about not having immediate access to a bathroom, that she would get nervous.

Especially in the car, she would ask to stop all the time. Even if she just emptied her bladder, she couldn't think of anything else, and would only focus on peeing. She made herself uncomfortable by obsessing about it.

She eventually grew out of it, but even now, my now 13 year old is nervous about the long drive we're taking this summer because she doesn't control the potty stops.

I just thought I would mention this, so you can see that it may not be medical. It could be something behavioral. Good luck to her.

More Answers

Take her to see a urologist, preferably a pediatric one. Childrens Memorial has wonderful Dr's and they come out for clinics in the suburbs. They do meet certain days in Tinley Park but will be moving from that site in Sept to go to New Lenox. There are other sites also you can visit.
And no UTI's do not always hurt or burn.

1 mom found this helpful

I would consult with a urologist. There are a variety of things that could be going on. It could be as simple as she has a urethral stricture that will only allow her to drain small amounts of urine, but because she is going so often she hasn't had a UTI. Whatever the case the doctor will probably want you to do a collection diary to see how much she really is going and how often. She may actually not be hydrated enough because she doesn't want to go anymore often and that is causing the constipation. The urologist will be able to give you more info than a regular pediatrican. Good Luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

You didn't mention if she makes it throught he night without having to keep going to the bathroom. ALso what does she do in school? Does she have to keep going in school? If she can make it throught the night and if the school hasn't contacted you for her frequent bathroom trips (and they would contact you)- she may need to train her body to hold it and understand the difference between having to go or not. Definately talk to your ped again if he ignores it or find another doctor.

S.

I feel your pain. I have two girls and we seem to spend alot of time in the ladies room as well. There are times that my daughters might become distracted with an activity then the urgency to use the washroom is not so *urgent*, although most times it does seem like the need to urinate is immediate...very little ability to hold it. It makes me wonder if kids at this age have a smaller bladder capacity than adults? Please keep us posted on what happens.

I took my now 8 year old daughter to a pediatric urologist for similar symptoms about 6 months ago, but my daughter was also wetting the bed, which you don't mention. The dr. said that sometimes if the bowel needs to be emptied, it can press on the bladder and decrease bladder capacity. We have incorporated miralax into our routine and I've noticed that she pees a lot less often now, so I guess that worked. The doctor will have you keep a log of all that your daughter drinks and when, and how much she goes to the bathroom (time and amount.) I learned a lot from this since the doctor said that the average kid her age was going about 6-8 times a day and we were going more than 10. Try a urologist -- good luck!

It is possible she could have a UTI without the unbearable pain. If the ped blows it off again, take her to a urologist. That's their specialty, I'm sure they will do all they can to find the problem.

Call your pediatrician or a specialist so that you can do some testing. Just because she is young does not mean she should have to go more frequently. Shorter/narrower urethras could be a cause as could be other medical concerns. I have a friend with this concern. You say this has been going on for a long time. I would address it. A UTI can go undiagnosed for a while (not for years!) if she is not getting any other symptoms or severe pain.

It seems excessive that she had to go to the bathroom so frequently.

Good luck.

My daughter (also 8) has had these issues off and onn since she was 4. She gets frequent UTIs, but never even notices until it's a hospital emergency - must have a high tolerance for pain! We've worked over the years with a Ped. Urologist, who has prescribed several things in various combinations. What's working for us now is Detrol LA in combination with an antidepressant. When she's urinating more frequently (or having accidents), we give the full course of antibiotic to treat a UTI. He wanted her to take the antibiotic as preventative ALL the time, but it was just too hard on her. Another common problem to check out is teeth crowding. My daughter went through a palette expansion with the orthodontist, which greatly improved her night breathing/snoring & bedwetting.

Kim M is right on, it sounds like she may have some allergies, they can cause the bladder to swell, causing one to feel urgency to use the bathroom. Get a recommendation to see a pediatric allergist, or you can also read the book, Is This My Child? By Dr.Dorris Rapp, www.drrapp.com who is a pediatric allergiest. She talks about this in her book.

Good Luck
J. W. MPH

I have to say I had that trouble with one of my daughters before, she had accidents as well. I took he to the Dr. and she had an UTI. Has she been tested? My daughter did not have pain with hers. It was her just having the accidents at school on the bus, so I took her in. Good Luck with finding out what it is.

Take care,

D.

Hi S.,

When I read this, I immediately thought of my brother. When we were growing up, he always had to use the bathroom frequently. And, it was just like you mentioned. He would go before we left, but have to go on our way somewhere that was only 1 hour away or less. My mom found out that this was because he had a smaller bladder than usual. I know it can be different in girls and boys, but it might be worth checking out.

As for the constipation, this may simply be a digestive problem. Even though there are foods that are good for our bodies, sometimes our bodies don't respond well to them. For example, dairy. Or, there may be some fruits and vegetables she is having trouble digesting. I would suggest cutting one thing out to see if it makes a difference. If it doesn't, you can incorporate it back into her diet and remove something else.

I hope this information helps! Take care!
K.

It could very easily be Juvenile Diabetes (Diabetes Type 1). I developed Diabetes at 8 which was unfortunately not diagnosed until 9 years of age. I had very frequent bathroom issues. My Mom joked that I knew where every public bathroom was. Other symptoms COULD be excessive thirst, weight gain / loss. There is a simple blood test the pediatrician can do to see if she has high blood sugar and further tests based on the results of the simple blood test if needed to really determine if it is truly Diabetes. Be patient... it is as frustrating for the child as it is you. Best Wishes.

Hi S.. I feel your pain. My 6 year old son has also experienced the same problem for the past few years. For me, I became immediately concerned because it made me think of what I had experienced as a child. I had to go potty wherever I went (even in the middle of T-Ball:-) and I wet the bed pretty much every night. My parents would get so frustrated until they discovered that I had a severe problem. I can't remember the exact name for it but at 9 years old (after a few stays in the hospital) I underwent a surgical procedure to enlarge my urethra, so that the urine could come out easier and cause less backup. I had to get a full cleansing inside and out because my urine was backing up into my kidneys because of a smaller opening down below. Anyhow, i say all of this not to scare you but to help. My Son goes through a similar potty issue every winter, where he goes every 10-20 minutes, saying that it feels like pressure. He said it felt like right when he went potty, he'd immediately feel like he had more to do. I felt so bad for him, so I took him into the doctor and they ordered a round of blood tests, which found nothing. I then took him in to see a urologist and after an ultrasound, they found nothing to speak of. They ended up just saying that what he was experiencing was very common and would go away after a while. They put him on Deltrol LA and it worked quite well. He still has to urinate quite often and I have continued to put him in a pull up at night because he still wets the bed, but he has improved. My advice to you would be to just take your daughter in and get evaluated. A Specialist may be a good idea too, just to rule anything out. I hope this info helps and please let us know how things work out.
Blessings!

BE PREPARED FOR YOUR DR's VISIT: Take a journal log or her food/liquid intake and her bathroom visits include time and type of each to your pediatrician. He/she should be able to make a correlation between her bathroom visits and food to rule out or in allergies, overactive bladder etc.

Also, make sure she is not consuming diuretics-POP is often a major culprit in causing frequent urination(caffeine-chocolate often has traces of caffeine in it too).

Some food additives and dyes can cause irritations too- red dye # 40 is particularly bad.

Now, armed with the journal if you see a pattern act on it but if your pediatrician doesn't see anything or tut-tuts you again request a referral for a second opinion. Be courteous but persistent because many peds unintentionally tut tut real issues.

Good luck

I would ask your ped to check for diabetes.

If your Ped is blowing this concern off...go somewhere else...go see a urologist (sp?)

This may sound odd, but are you positive she's having to urinate every time? The reason I ask is because I had a similar problem when I was young. I was constantly excusing myself to use the restroom, but didn't actually use it most of the time, and when I did I struggled. I was in a lot of pain from having to go poop, but would try to stop myself because it hurt so much. I'm sorry if this sounds gross, but I had to say it so you understand what I mean. My mom took me to see my doctor a few times about it, and when that went no where she ended up taking me to two specialists, the second was for a second opinion cause the first guy was a jerk about the situation. In the end, it turned out that I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). It's actually very common and something that I've lived with for years. As a child, I didn't know how to explain what was going on to my mom because I thought I was a freak of some sort. I didn't understand that there was actually something wrong with me and that it wasn't supposed to be so painful to poop, so I went to the bathroom often to hide that I was in a lot of pain. Once diagnosed I was able to make some dietary changes and things got a lot better. I don't know if this is what's going on, but it is a possibility. If your pediatrician isn't listening to your concerns and doing any testing, I'd highly suggest speaking to someone else, either your doctor (who should be able to help) or a specialist. Either way, your daughter's lucky that you aren't just listening to the doc and that you're caring enough to see if there might be something wrong. Good luck.

Hi S.. I'm very glad to hear you are contacting your Pediatrician soon. I, unfortunately, know that frequent urination is a key symptom of Type 1 Diabetes. Most likely, there is something else going on with your daughter, but your Pediatrician will likely want a urine sample so he can use a "dip stick" and check for sugar and ketones in the urine. If your daughter has any of the other symptoms (very thirsty all the time, losing weight, etc.) I would contact your Pediatrician sooner than Monday. Best wishes and I hope you will keep us posted.

I have heard of issues with urethras, such as shortened urethra and cystitis. I don't know much about the causes or treatments, but it's worth researching before the ped visit.

Good luck!

You could try cutting back on liquids during the school day except when lunchtime and break times for potty and drinks. Do the same at home. Does she have accidents during the night? If not then this could be an attention getter or some other reason she's doing this. When at amusement parks, bring a spray bottle to squirt her tongue for moisure instead a sodas and sugered drinks that run right thru her.

I see that the other posts have talked about medical conditions she may have. My daugher had the same situation, but it was all in her head. Whenever she wasn't at home, she was so nervous about not having immediate access to a bathroom, that she would get nervous.

Especially in the car, she would ask to stop all the time. Even if she just emptied her bladder, she couldn't think of anything else, and would only focus on peeing. She made herself uncomfortable by obsessing about it.

She eventually grew out of it, but even now, my now 13 year old is nervous about the long drive we're taking this summer because she doesn't control the potty stops.

I just thought I would mention this, so you can see that it may not be medical. It could be something behavioral. Good luck to her.

Hi S.,
We went through a similar sort of thing last year with my daughter but she was only 3 at the time & not potty trained yet. I think in one day, I changed her diaper like 25 times in one day. I went on line and was convinced that she had diabetes because she also was complaining of being thirsty. She said she felt "fine" but we went to see her pediatrician and even though she didn't have a UTI/bladder infection, she did have a really high white blood cell count. Not sure what that means but they gave her an antiobiotic and it really helped. Needless to say, she was not diabetic.

I would check with your ped and if they don't seem helpful, find someone who will listen to your concerns. Good luck!

I think you should find another ped. If the one you has think this is normal for a child to go every half hour.
Do she drink a lot of liquids? Can she be dehydrated?
Something is happening out of the ordinary. Have her kidneys checked. Don't put this off any longer.

Does she have allergies? I grew up having allergies and I also had to use the bathroom frequently- even sometimes having accidents at night up until 10 or 11 years of age. I think the doctor said something about the allergies making the lining of the bladder swell and making you feel as if you have to go more frequently- just something to think about- I still have to go more often than most folks, by the way, so I just try to limit liquids, especially when driving a long way! Good luck-

I realize that this was posted so long ago that you may have found a good solution by now, but just in case you'd like more information, here are some resources that I hope might be helpful for you...

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/8/t080800.asp

A lot of this one has to do with infants and toddlers, but there may be some ideas in there that might help an older child too...

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/8/t081100.asp

I also suggest taking a look at the following two books for more ideas (for "urinary frequency", or "urinary tract infections" or "constipation"). You can probably find them in your local public library, or through inter-library loan...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1583333169/ref=s9_simz_g...

http://www.amazon.com/CHILDREN-Americas-nutritional-expec...

Best wishes,
J.

Diabetes is the first thing I thought of when I read this. If it were my child, I would probably insist on a test. Best of luck to you and your little girl. I'm sure that it is frustrating to her as well.

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