World Bedwetting Day is this month (May 24th) and we wanted to share some information with parents who have children who are wetting the bed. It goes without saying it is upsetting for your child but you may be surprised that the cause is almost never psychological or emotional but physiological. Here I want to dispel some myths surround bedwetting and provide some information to help resolve it.
WHAT CAUSES BEDWETTING?
It had been accepted that bedwetting was a result of stress in children. This is possible in rare cases, and cannot be fully discounted, but the medical community now says it is largely a myth. Instead they say it is almost always a physiological condition. Bedwetting (or nocturnal enuresis) can be caused by the following:
If your child is over 5 years old and is wetting the bed twice a week or more, then this represents a situation that requires attention. If under 5, your boy or girl may still be developing bladder control, so don’t worry too much. It gets to be a problem when it impacts the life of the child. If it stops them from having sleepovers, for example, then it’s time to do something
THE SOLUTIONS TO BEDWETTING
Regulate Liquid Intake
The first step is to reduce the amount of liquids drunk by your child before bed. Allow at least an hour before bed without drinking anything. Here is the NHS guide to the amount your child should drink during the day. Drinks containing caffeine, chocolate or large amounts of sugar should be avoided.
Toilet before Bed
Easy to overlook but this should be a part of a normal bedtime routine like brushing teeth. It can be all that a child needs to stop wetting the bed.
Not available on the NHS but can be bought online. They attach to your child’s underwear and detect wetness. Being quite intrusive, your child may not like this option.
Your GP can prescribe desmopressin which is a synthetic version of the hormone in our bodies that regulates urine production. Oxybutynin is another option that works by relaxing the bladder muscles, thereby increasing its capacity to hold urine.
Special underwear and Waterproof Sheets
These aren’t a solution but can help control the situation whilst you child grows out of it. Absorbent pants allow your child to sleep through the night, without disturbing them.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There is no one solution that is guaranteed to work. The main thing to remember is to reassure your child. It’s not their fault and it shouldn’t be seen as a problem. If a child feels guilty or ashamed, it may make the situation worse. If home remedies don’t work, then book an appointment with your GP to see what else can be done.
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