The bladder is a muscular, stretchy organ that holds urine until you go to the bathroom. Bladder problems can lead to infections or serious kidney conditions.

Sometimes children are born with congenital bladder issues that need to be fixed when they are babies. Congenital bladder defects include bladder exstrophy and posterior urethral valves. At CHKD, our expert pediatric urologists perform advanced bladder surgeries to repair these problems in even the smallest babies.

Bladder exstrophy is a rare, but serious bladder condition where the bladder doesn’t form a normal round ball, but is instead flat. The muscles, skin and bones in your child’s abdomen and pelvis may also not form correctly, leaving your child’s bladder exposed. 

Most of the time bladder exstrophy is diagnosed during a routine sonogram before your child is born. If your child is diagnosed before birth, CHKD pediatric urologists will help you develop a plan to immediately care for your child. Infants may have surgery within a day or two of birth. Your child will need multiple pediatric bladder surgeries to carefully construct their bladder, urethra and muscles so they can have control of their bladder when they are older.

Another type of bladder congenital defect, posterior urethral valves, only happens in boys. Extra flaps of tissue grow inside the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the genitals), making it difficult for your child to empty his bladder. Using minimally invasive bladder surgery techniques, our pediatric urologists remove the extra tissues so your child can go to the bathroom easily. 

Vesicouteral reflux is a condition that results from congenital defects or bladder infections. Usually a valve on the bladder prevents urine from flowing back to the kidneys. However, sometimes this valve is formed incorrectly or damaged by infection so that urine flows up into the kidneys and causes  swelling (hydronephrosis).

In some cases, vesicouteral reflux can be cured without surgery. Some children may outgrow valve problems or heal infections with antibiotics. If your child has a more serious defect, they may need surgery to fix the valve and stop vesicouteral reflux. At CHKD, we offer minimally invasive surgery so your child will experience less pain and heal faster after surgery.

A child with a neurogenic bladder cannot control their bladder because of nerve problems. Children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy or a spine injury may have neurogenic bladders. Most children with neurogenic bladder take medicines as treatment. They may also need to have a catheter (a tiny tube) inserted into their bladder on a regular basis to empty it out completely. Rarely, children need surgery to help their bladder perform better.

CHKD pediatric urologists offer comprehensive care for a wide range of bladder conditions, from medicines to surgery. We help children achieve normal bladder function and have healthy, active childhoods.

Learn more about pediatric urology services at CHKD online or by calling (757) 668-7878.