Effects of incontinence in children

During urination, these muscles work together with one relaxing and another one contracting to control a proper flow of urine. Dysfunction in one of the muscles might cause loss of urinary control to a particular depending on an individual. A urethra acts as a canal by letting the urine to pass through it from the bladder as it moves out of the body when voiding. Children must learn to achieve bladder control which some produce earlier than others. It is a cause of continence in some children when others still have challenges to gain control of their bodies. Nonetheless, it becomes abnormal as a child grows older and even reaches adolescence while still having an inability to control bowel or bladder movement through practices such as bed wetting.

Types of Incontinence in Children

Childhood enuresis is in two main categories namely:

Nocturnal enuresis: occurs during sleep and it is the most prevalent type or urinary incontinence among children of around five years. People also call it bedwetting.

Diurnal enuresis: This type of enuresis occurs mostly in younger children and mainly occurs because of certain behaviors. It can also be a sign or other serious problems.

Another way to categorize the problem is by timing the time that a child shows signs of incontinence. A child with excellent bladder control during the day but never achieves a dry night has primary enuresis.

Secondary enuresis is incontinence that occurs in a child who has for at least six months been dry but suddenly develops symptoms after the period. The reason could be a particular behavior that changes the regular habit such as beginning to take more beverages before retiring to bed.

Urinary incontinence is prevalent among children hence parents should not be too hard on children who are unable to control their bladder or bowel. Studies show that up to 20 percent of 5 years old children and 10 percent of seven-year-olds have a habit of wetting their bed. 20% of those who wet their bed also have a degree of daytime incontinence.

Nocturnal enuresis occurs mostly in boys. Diurnal incontinence occurs in higher numbers among girls. Secondary enuresis accounts for about a quarter of the cases that cause loss of continence, and a specific psychological stressor is likely to be the cause.

Effects of Incontinence in Children

Pediatric incontinence is not a severe disorder medically, but it can have a far-reaching impact on the psychology and esteem of the child as well as the family. Wetting a bed for grown children interferes with their socialization aspects. It is not only the child but also the family that suffers significant stress because no one wants other people to know that one of theirs cannot control urine or bowels movement. Patience and understanding are essential when dealing with such children to define the way to solve the issue because it causes the children to suffer these from these repercussions.


Self-esteem is the most significant effect on children because it causes them to refrain from engaging in certain age-appropriate activities like going for sleepovers.


Passing urine or feces is an extremely personal activity in most societies and should take place in privacy. Children will feel embarrassed about accidental leaks and the offending smell that occurs due to incontinence. As a result, they are very anxious when they think about participating in social activities or even going to school. It is not unusual for children with incontinence to avoid situations that might cause them to leak. They might avoid participating in social activities such as interacting with friends or going shopping with parents.

Older children might avoid drinking fluids or taking certain types if they think that they increase incontinence to control the problem. Avoiding some meals could deny the child an opportunity to consume the amount of food or drink that they should attain for proper growth.


Sometimes children might have challenges by the change in their life circumstances because of their incontinence might try denying that they a problem even when overwhelming evidence shows that a problem is existing. For example, a child who wets the bed might blame it on their siblings. The denial is as a result of embarrassment although it could be because there is a lack of accurate or complete understanding about the problem. Some children become hopeless and helplessness about doing anything to control voiding thus causing depression.

Frustration and anger

It is normal for human beings to get frustrated when they feel that it is impossible to achieve something they desire or believe. The children who are unable to maintain continence will show frustration as they think odd when all their peers can control their urge to visit the toilet. They also develop anger about their inability to control their conditions thus becomes a laughing among the peers who might not know that it is an unfortunate occurrence. For instance, kids who cannot wait until the break time are frustrated and angry at their action of asking for permission to leave the class for the toilet.

They can also become irritable if other children make fun of their situation or at their teachers who remind them to go to the toilet before they leak as they feel the reminder exposes their weakness to age mates.


Grieving is a typical response to changes in the life of a person. It refers to the reaction that to a perceived or actual loss as a result of changes. Children with incontinence will grief at some change such taking them to a boarding school or at a place they will sleep over because it is likely to let other people know about their uncontrolled voiding. Grief might feel like depression, but it is a transient state as the child adjusts to the loss. It is essential for parents, teachers and other people who take care of children to look out for grief in children with incontinence because it is a personal experience and they could suffer in silence.


Depression is a mental disorder that persistently causes a depressed mood or a loss of interest to engage in certain activities. Depression can cause impairment in daily life. The persistent feeling of sadness due to an inability to control bladder or bowel can make a child to lose their confidence, concentration, appetite, sleep or energy level. Talk therapy is essential to let the child know he or she is not inferior to others and it is possible to overcome or treat incontinence with time.

Overall psychological impact

Failing to manage incontinence properly can make children who have this condition to get many negative feeling including:


2.Social isolation

3.Loss of control


5.Shame about their body image

Failing to manage incontinence might cause further problems as the negative feelings continue piling up and might end up overwhelming the child with the stress that arises from changes in life and relationship. Their parents or guardians also feel the psychological effect because enuresis is not the norm after a certain age and they bear the cost of care and items that help in controlling the aftermath.

Researchers say that most careers of children with incontinence do not seek professional help. Depending on beliefs and attitude towards incontinence, they may try to hide it in the same way that the child does. Children fail to seek help because they find the behavior hard to understand, accept and ignorant about the right person to share their tribulations. They feel helpless and will do the best to hide it.

An appropriate step by guardians is to move from the denial and seek professional help from medical doctors and behavior therapists because they have solutions as well as ways to achieve the best outcome which is to help children to achieve continence. Specialists also have helpful advice on the appropriate way of attending to toileting needs of children with continence challenges until they attain an ability to hold off their waste products until the right time.