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Incontinence in Children

Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Nighttime incontinence may be one sign of another condition, called obstructive sleep apnea, in which the child's breathing is interrupted during sleep, often because of inflamed or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Other symptoms of this condition include:
 
In some cases, successful treatment of this breathing disorder may also resolve the associated nighttime incontinence.
 
Structural Problems
Finally, a small number of cases of incontinence are caused by physical problems in the urinary system, in children. Rarely, a blocked bladder or urethra may cause the bladder to overfill and leak. Nerve damage, associated with the birth defect spina bifida, can cause incontinence. In these cases, the incontinence can appear as a constant dribbling of urine.
 

Incontinence in Children: Causes of Daytime Incontinence

Daytime incontinence that is not associated with urinary infection or anatomic abnormalities is less common than nighttime incontinence, and tends to disappear much earlier than the nighttime versions. One possible cause of daytime incontinence is an overactive bladder. Many children with daytime incontinence have abnormal elimination habits, the most common being infrequent voiding and constipation.
 
An Overactive Bladder
Muscles surrounding the urethra (the tube that takes urine away from the bladder) have the job of keeping the passage closed, which prevents urine from passing out of the body. If the bladder contracts strongly and without warning, the muscles surrounding the urethra may not be able to keep urine from passing. This often happens as a consequence of a urinary tract infection, and is more common in girls.
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