Overactive Bladder: My 9 year old son has always had a... - ERIC


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Overactive Bladder

Quink profile image

My 9 year old son has always had a really overactive bladder. We have tried oxybutynin and tolterodine, but both made him feel really poorly and didn't seem to help a great deal either. He doesn't drink fizzy drinks or Ribena and we try to get him to drink lots of water throughout the day, but nothing seems to help. Last Friday I was called in after school by his teacher who said that although he can leave class whenever he wants to go to the toilet and he wears padded underpants, he is becoming so worried about having an accident that he is becoming very distracted and is having to leave class very frequently. As a result he is missing out on a lot of what the class are doing. She suggested that he should try wearing pullups to take the pressure of having an accident and to get him to leave it longer between going to the loo. For the last two days we have tried this, but I'm not sure that it is a long term solution. He wore pullups until year 2, but since then we have been trying to manage with just padded underwear. Has anyone got any suggestions? Anything we can try? He has regular appointments with the continence team, but other than supply night pads, they haven't really been very much help.

8 Replies

I was in a similar situation a few years ago with my granddaughter, she was still in pullups at your son's age and we had tried all the medication available, the continence service would give her adult nappies for her bedwetting but nothing for during the day.

Wearing pullups isn't really ideal for a child at that age, or at least that's what the continence nurse kept telling me.

Eventually I found her 'trainer pants' probably similar to what your son is wearing, cotton but with a waterproof layer and a soaker pad, she would wear those to school with a tena lady type pad in them, that would catch most of her leaks but wouldn't hold a full pee on its own, so the pants would get wet and she would feel wet.

This worked great for a while she gradually had less and less accidents, and was managing to get to the loo on time but she outgrew the pants and I couldn't afford £100s to get another dozen pairs in the next size up so I tried her with regular knickers and pads, this was a disaster she got extremely anxious about accidents and leaking to the point she was refusing to go to school.

We went back to pullups and her accidents gradually got worse and worse.

If I where you I'd try disposable pads first before going back to pullups, the men's ones from Asda are relatively cheep, half the price of drynites, and get good reviews, mibby try those?

What does your son think about going back to pullups?

It's a big step back and could have a negative effect on his self esteem, but if he wanted to wear them I guess it's his choice, Sophie chose to go back to pullups and I really wish I hadn't let her as it's just made the situation worse in the long term.

Quink profile image
Quink in reply to StellaA

Thank you for your reply. It is just so difficult for him to have to deal with! Up until this week he has been using the padded 'trainer pants' with the waterproof layer. They wouldn't hold very much, but would help if he just couldn't quite get to the toilet in time. This week he has been wearing Drynites pullups, which have come home soaking wet, so he has obviously had full accidents in them. I have just been in to see his teacher again to see how he has been getting on and she has said that she has been trying to persuade him not to go to the toilet as often, which accounts for his soaking wet pullups. I just don't know what to do. I agree that it is a huge step backwards, but if he is missing out on lessons, then maybe it is the right thing to do. To be fair to his classmates, he has had hardly any teasing and so although he was anxious about wearing them to school, I think that he quite likes the reassurance that he is not going to soak his trousers!

StellaA profile image
StellaA in reply to Quink

That sounds too familiar, once Sophie was back in pullups she would just hold her pee until she wet her pullup then would have it changed, there were weeks where she didn't have a single toilet visit in her diary.I had to go into the school and tell them that they still had to encourage her to go to the toilet regularly, and it got far better after that, with hourly toilet sits she was coming home in the same pullup she left in and sometimes it wasn't even that wet.

She was comfortable, and confident for a while although as she got dryer during the day her bedwetting got far worse, she was soaking 2 small id slip super every night.

This affected her confidence and the daytime accidents gradually increased again.

I got the Aldi pullups over drynites because the girls drynites design had changed to what she had worn before, she thought they were ugly and wouldn't wear them but the Aldi ones are plain white and a bit cheeper than drynites.

Mind you I think anything would be cheaper than drynites.

How is he at home or just generally outside school, can he manage to get to the loo on-time at home?

Quink profile image
Quink in reply to StellaA

Thank you for your reply. He's not great at home. He can manage if he has quick, easy access to the loo, but if we go out in the car or the shops, then he needs a pullup. Is your Granddaughter better now? How did you resolve things? My son is in year 5 at the moment and still in primary school. In about 18 months he will be starting High School and we are desperate to get him better by then! His friends have been brilliant by not teasing him, but I worry that this may not be the case at High School.

StellaA profile image
StellaA in reply to Quink

Do you give him a choice between pullups and pants when you're going out? Or do you make him wear the pullups, if you think he will need them, has this alway been the case or just since he started wearing them to school?

As for my granddaughter, her situation hasn't really changed unfortunately.She's now getting pullups supplied by the continence service after it was agreed that she had a genuine need for them.

That wasn't an easy process, but she can now change the pullups herself without needing to be told.

Be careful what language you use round about them, Sophie has really taken the need part to heart, while before she was ok without them at home, now that she 'needs' them she's always got one on and dosent ever 'need' the loo, she still goes sometimes but nowhere near enough.

Sometimes she can just completely give up with using the toilet, other times she's better at it, but it all hinges around her moods.

Her bedwetting is improving but I can't see her regaining daytime dryness as long as she's wearing pullups, there no incentive for her to get to the toilet and her bladder control is getting really poor again.

Sophie is starting highschool this year after being kept back last year, the first year of highschool, S1, is normally after P7 here.

Quink profile image
Quink in reply to StellaA

He wears pullups when we go out because both he and I know that he would be very likely to wet his pants if he didn't. Actually, I think that he would refuse to leave the house for fear of having an accident without them. The worst thing about pullups is that he has to completely remove his trousers and shoes to change. This means that he has to use the disabled loos in the shops and although he can manage on his own, he has been told off for using them by other shoppers because he isn't 'disabled' which has undermined his confidence and he now wants me to come in with him - aren't some people horrible! I phoned the continence nurse yesterday to inquire about TENS and biofeedback (suggested by AmyLG) and so we have made an appointment to see her in a couple of weeks. I will inquire about what pads or pullups may be available, but I will take on board your point about the word 'need'.How does your Granddaughter get on with teasing and bullying? I must admit, I am really worried about him going to High School and getting bullied. It would be wonderful to get at least his daytime wetting better before then. I am really glad that your Granddaughter's bedwetting is improving. We haven't even thought about tackling night time wetting yet.

Hi, I’m sorry that your son is going through this. My 9 year old daughter was the same until this year. It’s so stressful. We see a bladder consultant and were offered medication but instead have been using a TENS machine to calm her bladder down. School have been following a drink/wee chart so that she goes regularly. She also had biofeedback training last year that helped her know how to empty her bladder properly which then calmed all the twitching down and things are now improving, so may be worth trying these.?

I found that when I put her in any absorbent underwear it made things worse and she wouldn’t go to the toilet as often because she had the safety net. Pull ups were horrible so we found these little pads that go in her underwear called “dry like me”.

Good luck,


Quink profile image
Quink in reply to AmyLG

Thank you for your reply. It is really interesting to hear about your success with TENS and biofeedback. We haven't been offered this at all. My son has been offered tablets that made him feel really out of sorts. He has also been advised to drink lots of water and to try and increase the time between wees. But other than that - not much! I will phone his incontinence nurse this morning to see whether she can offer him TENS and biofeedback. I will also ask her about other sorts of pads as the main problem with pullups is that he needs to take off his trousers and shoes to change. Although he has access to the disabled loo at school - it is still a hassle that he could do without!

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