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Physical Exam for Bed-Wetting


Physical Exam for Bed-Wetting

When a child is being evaluated for bed-wetting, a physical exam is usually done to see whether medical conditions or sexual abuse may be causing the bed-wetting. During the physical exam, the doctor will examine the child's:

  • Belly (abdomen), feeling for any abnormal lumps (masses) that may point to a full bladder.
  • Rectum, feeling for signs of constipation.
  • Nervous system and spine, looking for possible nervous system defects or delays in the child's development that might be causing the accidental wetting.
  • Genital area, looking for birth defects or vaginal infection. If the doctor sees continuous leaking (dribbling) of urine, he or she will do further testing for birth defects in the urinary system. Your doctor will also examine the child for possible sexual abuse.

As part of the physical exam, your doctor may ask the child to hold his or her urine as long as possible and then urinate into a container. The doctor can use the sample of urine to estimate the amount of urine that the bladder can hold (bladder capacity) at one time. Normal bladder capacity (in ounces) can be estimated by adding 2 to the child's age. For example, a 6-year-old can hold about 8 fl oz (236.6 mL) of urine at one time.

The doctor also may watch the child urinate to look for a weak urine stream, which may be a sign of a block in the urinary tractClick here to see an illustration..

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerThomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last RevisedOctober 26, 2010

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