Anders Breinbjerg

Dissatisfaction with school toilets is associated with bladder and bowel dysfunction

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Poor quality of school toilets is reportedly an issue in many countries and has been correlated with toilet refusal in children. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between perceived school toilet quality, behaviour regarding toilet visits, and symptoms of bladder and bowel dysfunction (BBD). Pupils in Danish schools were invited to complete online questionnaires regarding toilet behaviour, perception of school toilet standards/quality, and symptoms of BBD. Teachers at the same schools were asked about the quality of the toilets. We recruited 19,577 children from 252 different schools. More than half of the children (50% boys and 60% girls) were dissatisfied with the toilet facilities. One-fourth of the children (28% of girls, 23% of boys) reported avoiding the use of school toilets. We found a strong correlation between being dissatisfied with school toilets, toilet avoidance, and symptoms of BBD.Conclusion: The majority of Danish children are unhappy with their school toilet facilities. Symptoms of BBD are associated with subjective toilet dissatisfaction and toilet visit postponement. Because children spend a significant part of their day at school, access to satisfactory toilet facilities is of utmost importance for their well-being. What is Known • Bladder and bowel dysfunction is common in childhood with urinary incontinence, constipation, and faecal incontinence being cardinal symptoms. • Behaviour regarding toilet visits contributes to the aetiology, and we know that toilet avoidance can lead to abnormal bladder and bowel function. What is New • Most children are not satisfied with their school toilets, and many avoid toilet visits. • Dissatisfaction with the school toilets is related to toilet avoidance and bladder and bowel dysfunction in school children regardless of age and gender.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Pages (from-to)3317-3324
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

    Research areas

  • Constipation, Incontinence, Overactive bladder, Quality, School toilets, Voiding postponement

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