Your bladder is a bag-like organ that stores and empties urine. Pelvic floor and sphincter muscles control the opening and closing of the bladder, and nerves send messages between your muscles, bladder and brain.
When your bladder is filling up, your pelvic floor and sphincter muscles gently contract to hold in the urine. When your bladder starts to stretch, a message is sent from your bladder to your brain to let it know, “I’m full!” When you go to the toilet, your brain tells your bladder to squeeze out the urine and your pelvic floor will relax to let the urine out. When your bladder is empty, your pelvic floor contracts again.
Loss of bladder control during the day may be caused by problems with your bladder, pelvic floor and sphincter muscles or nerve messages. This can be called daytime wetting or daytime incontinence. Loss of bladder control during sleep can be called bedwetting or enuresis. Children can have problems with just daytime wetting, just bedwetting or both.
Most children have gained daytime bladder control by the age of four, BUT up to 12% of children under the age of 17 have a daytime wetting problem. One third of these children will also have a problem with bedwetting. Day wetting is more common in girls than boys and boys have more problems with bedwetting than girls. Both of these problems tend to improve with age, but children do not necessarily ‘grow out of it’.
Wetting can cause distress for children, teenagers and their families. The underlying bladder, muscle or nerve problems can lead to kidney problems later in life. So, if your school-aged child wets during the day, it is essential to seek professional advice.
Most wetting occurs because the bladder, muscles or nerve messages are not working normally. Common causes of daytime wetting include:
- Overactive Bladder: This occurs when the bladder has problems storing urine. Symptoms include: wetting, urgency (‘busting’) and frequent toileting (more than ten times per day).
- Underactive Bladder: This occurs when the bladder is large and the bladder muscle is floppy. Symptoms include: infrequent toileting (less than four times a day) and occasional wetting without any warning as the bladder overfills. Urinary tract infections are common.
- Dysfunctional Voiding: This occurs when your bladder and pelvic floor muscles are not co-ordinating well together and you develop habits such as not emptying your bladder completely. This can lead to wetting and urinary tract infections.
- Voiding Postponement: This occurs if you are in the habit of putting off going to the toilet and small leaks escape when the bladder is overfilled.
- Constipation: This occurs when you are not able to empty your bowel, or are having difficulty doing so. Bowel habits can have a significant impact on bladder function.
- Structural Problems: These issues related to your bladder, kidneys, muscles, nerves and urethra are rare. A medical specialist should be consulted if your child is identified as having an anatomical or neurological cause for wetting.
Ben and his parents worked really hard with his toilet training. They got most of the way there but Ben kept having daily wetting accidents in his undies.
His parents have tried lots of approaches to find the solution, including: rewards, bribery, yelling, and even punishment, but nothing has worked.
While the accidents were manageable when Ben was in kindy, now that he is in prep, his parents are worried as they don’t want him to get teased or to feel embarrassed by his accidents.
How can Mars Clinic help?
At the Mars Clinic, we help parents with professional advice, tailored to your child’s specific problem. We offer:
- Objective assessment of the problem and its potential causes
- Information that you can trust
- Confidence in having a plan
- Strategies that suit your family life
- Adaptable solutions to help you through the whole journey
- Non-judgmental advice
- Support, validation and reassurance
Six months prior to visiting the Mars Clinic, 8 year old Charlotte starting having daytime wetting accidents when she had previously never had any issues. These accidents varied from damp patches in her undies to completely soaking through, and she wasn’t able to tell when an accident was going to happen. It was frustrating for Charlotte and her parents, as sometimes it seemed to get better, then it would get worse again. They were confused with what was happening and wanted answers on what was causing Charlotte’s accidents.
What makes us different?
Mars Clinic is recognised as the Australian leader in the treatment of incontinence for children and adolescents.
- Australia’s largest team of trained professionals
- Internationally recognised as Best Children’s Bladder Control & Treatment Specialists 2020 – Australia
With our non-invasive, cutting-edge technologies, we are able to provide advanced diagnostic and treatment services at our in-person clinics. These include:
- Scans and measurements, using diagnostic ultrasound and uroflowmetry, to determine how well the bladder and bowel hold and empty
- Muscle activity measurement, using urodynamics and EMG biofeedback, to test how well pelvic muscles coordinate during toileting
- TENS treatment to help children learn to feel and recognise bladder and bowel sensations
- Specialised biofeedback treatment, based on children’s video games, to help children learn correct pelvic muscle control
We are here to help!
Come into our local clinics, or Online anywhere
UQ Health Care – Annerley
Level 4, PACE Building (street level) 20 Cornwall Street
WOOLLOONGABBA QLD 4102
P. 07 3346 1768
F. 07 3392 2611
Woolworths Brookwater Village
Mater Health Centre
16/2 Tournament Drive
BROOKWATER QLD 4300
P. 07 3199 3211
F. 07 3199 3220
Mater Medical Centre
Suite 40, Level 7
293 Vulture Street
SOUTH BRISBANE QLD 4101
P. +617 3163 1188
F. +617 3163 1192
P. 07 3163 1188
A team you can trust
We are very proud of our large team of Mars Clinic professionals.
- Registered physiotherapists
- Additional training in pelvic health (adults and children)
- Completed our Advanced Practice Mars Clinic Training Program
- Completed assessment competencies in Functional Ultrasound, EMG Biofeedback, use of TENS Modulation therapy
- Attend our regular ongoing Mars Clinic training, including education meetings with Paediatric Specialists