Understanding Urology for Children with Spina Bifida

Urology for children with spina bifida is changing for the better. Today, these children are less likely to have issues with incontinence. The strategy behind this is to emphasize early catherization and preventive treatment to preserve both kidney and bladder function.


When a child with spina bifida continually gets urinary tract infections (UTIs), they must undergo testing to identify the primary cause or causes of these infections. They may receive antibiotics, frequent urine tests and regular bladder checks. This treatment is similar to what those with normal bladder function would receive.


According to the Spina Bifida Association, studies show that using catheterization, antibiotics and anticholinergics (medications) helps resolve bladder reflux. This is true for more than 50% of children with spina bifida. This also lessens the severity of the infection for another 30 to 40% of children.

However, sometimes children with repeated infections require surgery even if they were on antibiotics and had a good bladder-emptying regimen. In these instances, the success rate of the surgery mirrors children with typical bladder function. For example, there are improvements roughly 96 to 98% of the time.

Starting School

Today, there is an emphasis on mainstreaming children with spina bifida into normal school and social situations. Therefore, they need to have control of their bladder and bowel functions before school starts.

If they do not have control, a doctor will work with them on their incontinence. They normally prescribe medications to lower bladder pressure and increase capacity and to raise urethral resistance to prevent leaking. As a result, success rates for achieving continence range as high as 65%.

For more information, visit the Spina Bifida Association’s resource page at https://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/resource/urologic-care/, or for urology resources, visit https://www.chcsolutions.com/continuum_connect/urology/urology-resources/

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.