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Infrequent urination in children

Updated July 19, 2017

Does your child go to the bathroom less often than other children? Some children urinate infrequently; this is also known as voiding dysfunction. A child who urinates infrequently may have a medical condition, behavioural issues, or simply not be taking in enough fluids.

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Causes of infrequent urination may include urinary tract infection, acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, dehydration, and diarrhoea. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some children avoid urinating because of poor toilet habits, being too busy to drink fluids, fear of the toileting process, psychological stressors, or emotional stressors.


Additional symptoms which may accompany infrequent urination include breathing difficulty, muscle weakness, behaviour problems, fatigue, delirium, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, low blood pressure, and painful urination. According to Wrong Diagnosis.com, combined symptoms may be cause for concern for various diagnoses.


The primary doctor may refer the child to a paediatric urologist, paediatric nephrologist, or a behavioural psychologist. Treatments may include correction of dehydration such as intravenous fluids and an increase of fluid intake, medications according to diagnosis, or possible behavioural therapy techniques to help avoidance issues.


To find underlying problems, your child's doctor may perform tests including renal and bladder ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, of the lower spine, a voiding cystourethrogram, or a radionuclide cystogram. The doctor will take a medical history and might recommend that the child undergo a psychological evaluation.


Urinary tract infection occurs in three per cent of children each year, according to the Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Since urinary tract infection is painful, children may avoid urinating. Long-term effects of urinary tract infection can include kidney scars, poor kidney growth, poor kidney function, and high blood pressure.

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About the Author

Jacqueline Chinappi has been a freelance writer and editor since June 2007. Her experience includes writing about mental health, psychology, counseling, children, family, languages, and education. Chinappi holds a Master of Arts degree in counseling psychology and an Educational Specialist degree in professional counseling from Seton Hall University.

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