There is a stigma associated with bed-wetting, so it’s no surprise if parents or even the children themselves are worried about bed wetting. Bed wetting is usually a problem that goes away on its own and does not carry any complications. It can however, cause insecurity and embarrassment that can affect a child psychologically if not addressed properly.
Children naturally take time before they can control their urge to urinate during nighttime. There is generally no cause for concern if a child wets his or her bed before the age of seven, since their bladders still need more practice before it can recognize not to empty during sleep. Bed wetting can sometimes continue past the age of seven, all the way to around the age of 12 or older. While the condition is usually harmless, if you or your child is concerned about the situation, consult with your doctor for possible solutions.
There are numerous causes of bed wetting and these include:
- The child has a small bladder that can’t hold in the urine at night
- Immature nerves that can’t recognize when a child needs to wake up to empty his bladder
- Insufficient anti-diuretic hormone that signals the body to decrease urine production during sleep
- The stress of an event can affect a youngster and cause bed wetting, such as the start of school, moving house, or the arrival of a new brother or sister
- Urinary tract infection
- Sleep apnea
- Diabetes can be a possible cause, and bed wetting may be one of the first signs of diabetes in a child
- Continuous constipation can lead to a reduced capacity in the bladder which can cause bed wetting
Bed wetting usually affects boys more than girls. Children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder or ADHD are also more at risk of bed wetting as well as those who have parents who also wet their beds during their younger years.
A doctor will conduct an evaluation based on the effect the bed wetting has on the patient. If the child doesn’t seem to be affected by the condition, the doctor may suggest less aggressive forms of treatment, or letting bed-wetting stop on its own. However if it is causing self esteem and confidence issues, there are other means available to help stop bed wetting.
- Moisture alarms are devices that connect a moisture detecting pad to your child’s pajamas or bed. This causes an alarm to go off at the first sign of moisture that comes from urination, and the child is woken up before he can empty his bladder completely. This usually takes at least a couple of weeks to work, and is highly effective with no side effects.
- Desmopressin acetate is a drug that boosts the production of anti-diuretic hormone so the body makes less urine at night.
- Oxybutynin and hyoscyamine are drugs that can help reduce the contractions of the bladder and increase its capacity
There are also home remedies that parents can do in order to help their child overcome bed wetting. One obvious tip is to limit the amount of fluids a child drinks in the hours before bedtime. Drinks that have caffeine should also be avoided, such as colas or chocolate, since these encourage urination. Double voiding should also be encouraged—your child should urinate within the first stages of getting ready for sleep such, then once more before going to bed. You should also encourage your child to urinate regularly during the day.