Urinary incontinence refers to the unintentional loss of urine, “wetting”. While this is a relatively common occurrence in the pediatric population, occurring in between 8-12% of pediatric patients. For purposes of classification, it is divided into daytime and nighttime wetting. The most common causes of daytime wetting are: holding of urine for prolonged periods of time and then leaking due to the bladder “overflowing”; “urge” incontinence, which occurs due to the bladder being overactive and contracting too frequently; weakness of the pelvic muscles which cause the child to be unable to hold urine; and, in female patients, trapping of urine in the vagina with urination, resulting in leakage of urine after using the restroom. In the vast majority of patients with nighttime wetting or nocturnal enuresis, leakage of urine occurs due to a failure of the sleeping brain to respond to signals from the bladder. There are currently a wide variety of treatments available for both day and night incontinence. While incontinence can be a significant bother for children and their families, the majority of patients can be helped without the need for invasive testing, surgery, or even medication.
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