Pollakiuria, more commonly known as urinary frequency, is when a previously toilet trained child shows a sudden increase in frequency of needing to urinate throughout the day. These frequent bathroom trips will be partnered with much smaller amounts of urine expelled than normal.
Children ranging from 3-14 years old may suffer from pollakiuria, and those ages 5-6 are the most likely to have symptoms. Urinary frequency is self-limited, meaning it eventually resolves itself on its own and has no long-term health risks. The average case of urinary frequency will last approximately 7-12 months.
Symptoms and Signs
- Increased frequency of urination, often ranging from 15-20 minutes, though the window can be as small as 5-minute intervals between bathroom visits
- Small amounts of urine loss
- Normal urine color, odor and stream
- No change in bowel movements or health
- Able to sleep through the night without accidents
- Approximately 25% of children suffering from pollakiuria will experience urgency at night
- No abnormal sensations or pain
Diagnosis and Next Steps
Even though urinary frequency in children has no long-term ill effects, parents often feel distress due to their child’s discomfort and concern over how constant interruptions to urinate may affect school and other daily activities. Upon contacting their pediatrician or pediatric urologist, parents should be prepared to discuss medical history, including if the child has suffered from urinary tract infections. Parents can also expect doctors to perform a few tests in order to rule out more serious urological problems.
There are no known causes of pollakiuria, though stress is considered the most likely trigger. Children experiencing significant social or emotional stressors at home or school are the most likely to suffer from urinary frequency. Fortunately, improvement is often seen when the stressor is addressed, be it through therapy or some other intervention.
The main treatments for urinary frequency are simple. The first is to reassure the child (and parents) that there is nothing abnormal about the situation and that it will resolve itself, usually within weeks or one or two months. The second is to attempt to discern the emotional trigger and allow the child to address that trigger with his or her parents and possibly a therapist.
If your child is showing signs of urinary frequency or any other urological issues, AUNC offers personalized pediatric services and can help bring comfort to your child and to you. Our main branch and administrative office is located at 3821 Ed Drive, Raleigh, NC 27612 and can be reached at 919-758-8677. We have eight clinics conveniently located throughout the region, and their contact information, including driving directions, can be found on our “Contact Us” page on our website.