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
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
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 tract.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.