TENS for Overactive Bladder: Hi, My 5 year old daughter... - ERIC


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TENS for Overactive Bladder

AmyLG profile image

Hi, My 5 year old daughter has been struggling with daytime wetness for sometime now. It seems we have tried everything to improve her symptoms - timed voiding, increased fluids, reward charts!! Etc etc. She can wet up to 4 times a day and sometimes has no idea that she has wet. We have seen a consultant today who has diagnosed over active bladder and instead of medication has suggested using a TENS machine to calm her bladder and try and relieve the symptoms. I’m interested to hear if anyone else has experience of this and how young children have coped with it. Did you see any improvement? And how long did it take? I’m hoping that we can finally start being optimistic. Thanks in Advance!

12 Replies

Hi! I have a 4 year old diagnosed with over active bladder. Before starting medication we tried the tens for 3 months... she tolerated it really well- using for an hour every day- distracted by the tv!! To my surprise we starting having the odd dry day and by the 3 months we were having a couple dry days a week! We’ve never had that! She began holding bigger amounts in her bladder and started to get to the toilet on time before leaking. We’ve had a couple weeks off of it now and am really disappointed to say we haven’t had a dry day since but im starting the tens again and Doing another couple months cos it really did help.

It certainly is worth trying it out. Hope You get some good results with it x

Jayjay-1 profile image
Jayjay-1 in reply to Iamskiff


Can I ask where you placed the electrodes- was it the lower back or foot and leg. I am thinking of buying a tens machine to try with my son but unsure where exactly to put them. If there is a diagram or link would be useful- thanks in advance

AmyLG profile image
AmyLG in reply to Jayjay-1

I’ve been told to put them on the back where the sacral dimples are. I have a picture so will try and send it!

Study by Notts Uni - TENS helped in 1/3 of children - so worth a try xxx

AmyLG profile image
AmyLG in reply to MrsSquirrel

Oh great, I’d be very interested to read the paper. Do you have a link by any chance? Thank you x

MrsSquirrel profile image
MrsSquirrel in reply to AmyLG


This is a powerpoint written by someone at Notts - gives the figures and more detail, not sure when it was created x

2017 by the looks of the file name

My daughter is 6 and has overactive bladder. We were never offered TENS but instead she was put on oxybutinin. The oxybutinin worked amazingly she was basically dry on it for 6 months but when the weather got hot she started to soil (something that hasn't happened since she was about 3) and now she is constipated again. I looked into the long term side effects of oxybutinin and there are no studies in children but in the elderly population it is linked with dementia and long Qt syndrome so along with this knowledge and the constipation I stopped the oxybutinin. I would love to try TENS but my daughters urologist I don't think will consider it as she is very unhelpful generally. Currently we have to sort out my daughters constipation caused by the oxybutinin which is taking a long time to resolve so feel back at square one. So I would definately go for the TENS first. Good luck and hope it makes a difference.

Hi, I’m sorry to hear about your experience and the side effects are definitely a worry. Can you just go ahead and try the TENS wether the consultant agrees or not? We have had to buy ours and have been told the frequency and strength to use it on. Our consultant said any TENS machine can be used as long as you are able to adjust the strength on it! May be worth a try. X

I have seen TENS used quite a lot in clinic and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Sometimes it works very well and other times not much. It also depends on how much ampage the child can tolerate. I don't think there is any harm in trying it first, as anti cholinergic medication can be quite harsh in little ones. Having said that, guidance has recently changed so we can use anticholinergic medication in under 7's so it must be considered safe.

halftime profile image
halftime in reply to FranAdam

Not sure about safe...comes under more calculated risk from what I can see from research papers. Currently being raised as a possibility for my 15 year old son I noticed in my copy of letter to GP from clinic although not mentioned to us in clinic. I feel quite bothered ny the long term side effects because clearly, if it worked mu son would be 'managed' for life like this, especially as he will soon be shuffled off to adult services. TENS is interesting; I will investigate. Thanks

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