Pediatric neurogenic bladder occurs when there’s a disconnect between your child’s bladder and nervous system, causing symptoms such as leaking pee or an overactive bladder.

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It’s common for children to have trouble with urination, such as having frequent accidents after potty training or wetting the bed. Most of the time, these symptoms are outgrown, but sometimes an underlying health condition is a cause.

One potential medical condition that can cause problems with removing liquid waste from the body is pediatric neurogenic bladder, which is when your child’s brain and nervous system aren’t communicating effectively with their bladder.

When children have pediatric neurogenic bladder, they may have trouble controlling their urine flow, or they may pee more or less frequently than expected.

Here, we’ll take a look at what causes this condition, what symptoms you may notice, and how to get effective medical care if your child is experiencing pediatric neurogenic bladder.

Pediatric neurogenic bladder is characterized by a bladder that’s not functioning normally due to a neurogenic issue. In order for your urinary system to function properly, your brain has to receive messages from your nervous system that it’s time to empty your bladder, such as a feeling of fullness in the bladder.

Children who experience pediatric neurogenic bladder won’t experience these signals, resulting in symptoms such as an inability to fully empty the bladder or a frequent need to pee (overactive bladder).

Each child with pediatric neurogenic bladder has somewhat different symptoms. The most common symptoms of the condition include:

  • a decrease in sensations in your child’s bladder (at times, your child may have no bladder sensation)
  • your child not being aware that their bladder is full
  • your child not feeling an urge to pee

Other symptoms your child may experience are:

  • leaking pee
  • feeling like they always have to pee
  • trouble completely emptying the bladder
  • burning feeling while peeing

Pediatric neurogenic bladder is usually caused by health conditions that affect a child’s nervous system. The most common causes of pediatric neurogenic bladder are disorders affecting the spinal cord, such as:

Other potential causes may include:

Most of the time, complications of pediatric neurogenic bladder can be managed with medical treatment. When the condition isn’t properly managed or when management isn’t effective, complications can result.

The most typical complications of pediatric neurogenic bladder include:

Treatments for pediatric neurogenic bladder vary depending on your child’s symptoms, age, the severity of their condition, and how they respond to treatment.

Common treatment options for this condition include:

  • use of a catheter to empty your child’s bladder
  • medications, such as anticholinergics, that relax the bladder muscles
  • surgery to enlarge the bladder or tighten the bladder’s sphincter to prevent leakage

Today, treatment options can keep the most serious complications of pediatric neurogenic bladder in check, and most children survive pediatric neurogenic bladder.

In the past, pediatric neurogenic bladder could be fatal for some children, who died from kidney failure or urosepsis (blood infection caused by urinary infections).

Still, even with effective treatment, most children with the condition experience one or more symptoms of urinary dysfunction.

If your child is experiencing symptoms of pediatric neurogenic bladder, such as leaking urine, frequent urination, or an inability to empty the bladder, consider contacting a pediatrician.

If your child has an underlying condition that commonly causes pediatric neurogenic bladder, including a neurological or spinal condition, your child may be proactively monitored, even before symptoms develop.

Diagnosing pediatric neurogenic bladder may include doing a physical examination of your child, asking questions about your child’s urinary habits and symptoms, and performing diagnostic tests on your child.

These tests may include:

Pediatric neurogenic bladder can’t be prevented in children who have medical conditions that cause it. But some researchers are recommending a more proactive approach to the diagnosis and treatment of the condition to prevent long-term complications.

That means that if your child has a condition that typically causes pediatric neurogenic bladder, such as spina bifida, they may receive preventive care and treatment even before they begin to develop obvious symptoms.

What type of physician should I visit if my child has symptoms of pediatric neurogenic bladder?

You can start by visiting a pediatrician. If they’re concerned that your child may have pediatric neurogenic bladder, they may refer you to a specialist, such as a pediatric urologist or pediatric neurologist.

What other conditions cause overactive bladder, leaking bladder, or trouble emptying the bladder?

Troubles with urination in children aren’t usually caused by pediatric urinary bladder. In most cases, no medical cause can be found. Urinary issues in most kids are caused by:

What is the most common cause of pediatric neurogenic bladder?

Myelomeningocele, the most prevalent type of spina bifida, is the most common cause of pediatric neurogenic bladder. Research suggests that about half of all children with myelomeningocele will experience bladder dysfunction.

If your child is experiencing symptoms of pediatric neurogenic bladder, such as an inability to fully empty the bladder and leaking pee, you should consider visiting a pediatrician.

Most children who experience urinary issues don’t have pediatric neurogenic bladder, and most cases of the condition are caused by underlying medical conditions, such as spina bifida.

If your child receives a diagnosis of pediatric neurogenic bladder, there are many effective treatments out there for them, and most children with this disorder end up living full and healthy lives.