ERIC can help

If you want to talk to someone in private about your problem or about how you're feeling, you can call or email the ERIC helpline.

Our expert advisors Sharron and Natalie have been trained to provide information and support on daytime wetting, bedwetting, constipation and soiling.

Health professionals can help

If you've got a weeing or pooing problem, it's important to see a health professional about it as soon as possible - the sooner you get help, the easier it will be to sort out, and you'll prevent it from becoming a more serious issue.

Below are descriptions of the various health professionals you can see: 

General practitioner - GP

Who are they?
Your GP is your family doctor. You should be registered with a local GP surgery near to where you live.

What can they do?
GPs know a little bit about a lot of subjects so they're good at giving basic advice and telling you about other people you can see or places to go for specialist help.

What treatment can they give me?
When you go for an appointment with your GP they'll ask you questions about your bladder or bowel problem and try to work out why it's happening. They might give you some medications to try, such as laxatives if you're constipated, or they might send you to see someone else who knows more about your problem.

How do I get to see them?
Phone the surgery you're registered with and make an appointment (you can find their contact details on the surgery's website). If you don’t want to call yourself, ask your parent or carer to call for you. GPs can be very busy so you might have to wait a few days or a week to see them. 

School nurse

Who are they?
Most schools have a school nurse linked to them. They often run a 'drop in' service so you can call in and talk to them in private. Some school nurses cover several schools so are only available on one or two days a week; other schools have their own nurse available every day.

What can they do?
Like GPs, school nurses know a little bit about a lot of subjects. They can give you basic advice and tell you where to go for more information and help.

What treatment can they give me?
The school nurse will explain how to keep your bowels and bladder healthy and what lifestyle changes you might need to make to get better. Some school nurses know a lot about continence issues so they'll be able to give you more specialist advice; for example, school nurses often supply bedwetting alarms.

How do I get to see them?
Ask the teachers at your school when your school nurse holds their 'drop in' clinic. You can see them during break time.

Paediatrician

Who are they?
Paediatricians are general children’s doctors – they look after you from birth until adulthood. They're more specialised than GPs as they only look after children and teenagers. They can be based in hospitals or in the community and see their patients at local clinics.

What can they do?
The paediatrician will need to ask you lots of questions, possibly do a physical examination, and maybe ask for some other investigations so they can assess your symptoms properly. They may give you advice on how to manage your condition, or they may decide to refer you to a specialist.

What treatment can they give me?
The paediatrician will explain how to keep your bowels and bladder healthy and what lifestyle changes you might need to make to get better. They may prescribe medicine for your bladder or bowel.

How do I get to see them?
In order to see a paediatrician you'll need to be referred by your GP, school nurse or other healthcare professional.

Continence nurse

Who are they?
Continence nurses specialise in bladder and bowel care. They're usually based in the community but some work in hospitals.

What can they do?
Continence nurses have lots of experience looking after teenagers like you. Like the other healthcare professionals, they'll ask you lots of questions to assess your symptoms properly. They may also ask you to fill in some charts to record all your drinks, wees and poos. They can also do basic investigations such as bladder scanning.

What treatment can they give me?
First of all, they'll explain how to keep your bowels and bladder healthy and what changes you might have to make to your life to get better. Some continence nurses prescribe medicines, others will write to your GP to ask for a particular medication.

How do I get to see them?
Ask your GP, paediatrician or school nurse to refer you.

Hospital specialist doctor

Who are they?
The children’s outpatient department of your local hospital will hold clinics where children and teenagers can see lots of different specialists. Depending on who's available in your local area you may need to travel to see someone at a regional centre. If you have a problem with your wee you might see a urologist or nephrologist. If you have a problem with your poo you might see a gastroenterologist.

What can they do?
The specialist doctor will also ask you lots of questions. It's important for them to have a detailed understanding of your symptoms. They might ask you to fill in charts recording all your drinks, wees and poos. They might also request scans or x-rays, urine tests, and blood tests.

What treatment can they give me?
The specialist doctor will plan the best care for you, which may include medicines, changing your drinking habits, learning new techniques for emptying your bladder or bowels such as using catheters and bowel washouts, or sometimes surgery.

How do I get to see them?
Your GP or paediatrician will refer you if they think you need to be seen by a hospital specialist.

Follow this link to find out what to expect at an appointment with a doctor or nurse.

Talking to others can help

It can also help to talk to others who are experiencing the same problem as you. 

You can use the confidential discussion forums on The Mix – a site which provides information and emotional support to 13-25 year-olds and helps them to open up about difficult issues. One of their forum topics is ‘Health & Wellbeing’. The forums are moderated and you have to register to post and receive replies from other members.

Read the transcript of our expert chat with The Mix on 23 February 2017.