Children and adults who have non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction can't completely empty their bladder. They may leak urine, pee often or have a strong urge to pee. Potty-trained children may wet their pants during the day. Medications, bladder training and pelvic floor therapy can help.
People with non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction can’t fully empty their bladders. As a result, you may feel as though your urinary stream is slow or difficult to start, and takes longer than normal. You may pee more often than is typical, leak urine, or feel strong urges to use the bathroom. Children may wet their pants during the day.
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Non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction has no neurologic (nervous system) cause and is usually related to a weak bladder muscle, a blockage in the flow of urine, or habits that have developed over time.
Non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction affects children and adults. It can affect all genders but is more common in women. More than 6% of women over 40 have non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction.
Approximately 1 in 5 children ages 4 to 6 experience daytime wetting due to the condition.
Your bladder is part of the urinary system. It’s a hollow muscular organ that holds urine until you pee. People with non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction have difficulty fully emptying their bladder due to either a weak bladder muscle, a blockage in the flow of urine, or behavioral problems or habits that develop over time.
Behavioral problems or habits may lead to non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction. These factors may also play a role:
Children and adults with non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction may experience:
Your healthcare provider will take your history and perform a physical exam. For women, this may include a pelvic exam. Men may have an exam to check for an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems. Your provider may ask you to keep a bladder diary to track daily urinating habits.
You may get one or more of these tests:
Your child’s healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and assess symptoms. You may need to keep a bladder diary. This record tracks your child’s bathroom habits and accidents.
Your child may get a blood test, urinalysis, ultrasound or certain urodynamic tests. It’s rare for a child to need more invasive diagnostic tests.
When you can’t empty your bladder, bacteria in the remaining urine can cause an infection, such as a UTI. You or your child may be more prone kidney stones or bladder stones. If the problem is severe, it can lead to kidney damage.
Treatments for non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction in adults vary depending on the underlying cause. Treatments include:
Like adults, children can benefit from alpha blockers and drugs for overactive bladders. Some children learn to do pelvic floor exercises.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend bladder training. A provider helps you work with your child to change voiding-related behaviors.
For instance, your child may need to use the bathroom every three hours during the day. Good posture on the toilet can help, too. Changing bathroom behaviors can retrain the bladder and make the bladder muscle stronger.
Lifestyle and dietary changes can lower your risk of voiding dysfunction. You can improve bladder function with these techniques:
Treatment improves bladder control for most people. Rarely, someone with non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction needs surgery to expand the bladder.
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction can cause life-disrupting symptoms. Children who wet their pants may be embarrassed and have lower self-esteem. Adults with difficulty urinating or who find themselves racing to the bathroom and leaking urine have a significantly lower quality of life. Don’t be shy about talking to your healthcare provider about this problem. Many treatments can help you or your child.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/01/2021.
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