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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Overactive Bladder in Children

What Medications Are Used to Treat Overactive Bladder in Children?

The medication oxybutynin is used to control such problems as urgent, uncontrolled, or frequent urination and other conditions that affect the bladder muscles. Oxybutynin works by relaxing the bladder muscles to prevent urinary problems. However, there are newer drugs available that may have fewer side effects.

If overactive bladder is caused by a urinary tract infection, your child's doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.

Is Bedwetting Related to Overactive Bladder in Children?

Yes. Some of the same conditions or circumstances that increase the likelihood of nighttime incontinence may -- in combination with infrequent urination -- result in incontinence during the day. These conditions and circumstances include pressure from a hard bowel movement or other causes listed above.

Another cause of nighttime incontinence is related to the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which the body produces to slow urine production. Children tend to produce more ADH at night, so there is less need to urinate. If the body does not produce enough ADH, the production of urine may not slow and the bladder may overfill, leading to bedwetting.

What Additional Methods Can Be Used to Treat Bedwetting?

In the vast majority of children, bedwetting improves on its own over time, so treatment is not needed. If bedwetting is a significant problem for a child, several treatments are available.

One treatment for bedwetting is a moisture alarm. This device includes a water-sensitive pad with a wire connected to a control unit. When moisture is detected, an alarm sounds, waking the child. In some cases, another person may need to be in the room to waken the child if he or she does not do so on his or her own.

Another option for treating bedwetting is medication. Increasing levels of ADH might help treat nighttime incontinence. Desmopressin, or DDAVP, is a synthetic version of ADH. This drug, which is approved for use in children, comes in pills, nose drops, or nasal spray.

In addition, the drug imipramine can be used. This medication affects the brain as well as the bladder. According to researchers, an estimated 70% of kids who wet the bed may be helped by the use of these drugs.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on August 03, 2014
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