Can Hirschsprung Disease Cause Urinary Incontinence?

Published: January 31, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
To whomever may be reading this, I am a thirteen year old girl born with short segment Hirschsprung's disease. Hirschsprung's disease is a chronic illness which flairs up got no reason some times and can cause abdominal pain. I became constipased a little less than two years ago and tried every type of medication my doctor prescribed. I was scheduled to have a Botox injection that summer, but an anul menometry test showed I didn't need it. All of a sudden on one day, my constipation went away. I thought it was odd, but didn't pursue investigations since I was so relieved the constipation went away. Three months exactly later, I got severe urinary incontinence which started all on one day: December 7th. Since then, I have been prescribed every type of medication used to treat incontinence on the highest dose, I have tried biofeedback, and got deflux injected into me. (After that, my incontinence got worse.) I am at the point where I need to wear 7 Always Discrete bladder control pads a day along with absorbent underwear. My biggest question, is whether Hirschsprung's Disease can cause Urinary Incontonence. Is there a connection between the two? Thanks, Hirschsprung's patient PS: Please answer this. Leaking as a teen is not easy, especially not at school.
Signed: Can Hirschsprung Disease Cause Urinary Incontinence?

Dear Can Hirschsprung Disease Cause Urinary Incontinence?,

TeenHealthFX is glad to hear that your constipation has resolved, however, we are sorry to hear about your urinary incontinence. It is not easy to have that uncomfortable symptom and it is certainly understandable that it can be embarrassing to have to wear discrete bladder control pads, especially for a teen or young adult.

In case other readers are not aware, Hirschsprung’s disease is a disease commonly found in infants but may not be found until children are older. It is caused by part of the nervous system not moving into the end of the colon. The colon wall is supposed to help push the stool out of the body, but if the nerves are not there to tell the colon to relax than the colon will stay constricted. This creates a tight space that the stool is unable to move past and may appear as fecal constipation.

Hirschsprung’s disease is not typically associated with urinary incontinence with the exception of surgical or other procedure complications. However, this would have been seen at the time of the surgery/procedure rather than developed later. So there is no specific connection between the two.

Please be aware that urinary incontinence is common.

According to WebMD:

“More than 13 million Americans have incontinence, and women are twice as likely to have it as men, according the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. About 25% to 45% of women suffer from urinary incontinence, defined as leakage at least once in the past year. The rates of urinary incontinence increase with age: 20%-30% of young women, 30%-40% of middle-aged women, and up to 50% of older women suffer from urinary incontinence.”

There are many different types of urinary incontinence. Do you feel like you have to pee or does it just leak out on its own? Do you become incontinent after laughing or sneezing? Does it more commonly occur at night time or during the day? After you are done peeing do you still feel full as if more should come out but doesn’t? These are just a few of the many questions to help determine the type of incontinence and the correct treatment for you.

TeenHealthFX would recommend finding a pediatric urologist because part of their specialty is working with urinary incontinence. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Morristown (973-971-6475) or the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Summit (908-522-5757) for an appointment. Outside this area contact a local Adolescent Medicine Specialist or your local teen health center.

Signed: TeenHealthFX