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Urinary frequency



My 4-year-old son has had a problem with frequent urination for about a year now. He has had his urine tested numerous times for infections and for diabetes, all with negative results. He also has no problems with bowel movements. He’s been on Ditropan for 11 months, which worked fine until about 2 months ago. His dose has been increased, but he still goes a minimum of once an hour, but usually 2 times an hour (and sometimes as often as 5 times an hour). I’ve taken him to a local urologist (not a pediatric urologist as there are none in our area) on the advice of our pediatrician. He had an ultrasound done and this showed just a residual amount of urine left in the bladder, which I was told was normal. He now has a cystogram scheduled to check for any other problems. If nothing is found he will have to stay on medication for a couple of years, on the assumption that his bladder is going into spasms. I would appreciate any help that you could give my in this matter.


The daytime urinary frequency syndrome is a very frustrating problem. It is characterized by a child usually between 3 – 7 years of age having sudden development of significant frequency mostly during the day. Children may have to void every 10 minutes. Usually these children are dry and do not wet themselves. Ultrasound studies are normal and antispasm medications such as Ditropan do not usually work very well. If one is patient the problem usually goes away by itself over the course of time. It may take months, however, for the symptoms to disappear. When the symptoms persist it is prudent to perform invasive studies such as a cystogram to look for a problem within the urethra. The cause of this syndrome is unknown. There may be a relation with fecal retention. Even if a child is having regular bowel movements he may be retaining large amounts of stool in the rectum which can then affect the bladder. It is prudent to just place a child with these symptoms on stool softners even though the child may not seem to be constipated. Rarer causes of these symptoms include spinal cord abnormalities or stressful situations at home or school. This problem nearly always goes away with time.

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Go to the Urinary and Genital Disorders (Children) health topic.