Usually a developmental issue, bedwetting can be easily managed.
Although bedwetting may be a symptom of an underlying illness, the majority of children who wet the bed have no latent explanation. Only 1% of children who bedwet have an underlying condition.
Bedwetting before the age of seven, when your child may still be developing their nighttime bladder control, isn’t cause for concern. They are not lazy, disobedient or even doing it on purpose. Bedwetting is most often a developmental issue.
There are two types of enuresis
Primary enuresis refers to when a child has never managed to achieve dryness at night. There are three contributing factors:
- going into a very deep sleep and not waking up from the sensation of a full bladder
- having a small functional bladder capacity
- the overproduction of urine while sleeping (polyuria), caused by a lack of an antidiuretic hormone. This affects about 60% of sufferers.
Secondary enuresis refers to children who have achieved dryness at night, but then begin wetting their beds again. Causes can be:
- urinary tract infections
- congenital defects.
Interestingly, enuresis is three times more common in boys, and a child is 70% more likely to develop this condition if both parents were enuretic themselves, suggesting a strong hereditary link.
Solutions vary, depending on the cause and nature of the enuresis. It is important to show confidence in your child’s ability to eventually control their bladder function. Letting your child know that you also suffered from this when you were a child provides comfort and reassurance. If you are concerned, let your GP examine your child and advise you of the appropriate steps to take. Medication such as an antidiuretic hormone can slow down urine production at night. Eliminate foods that irritate the bladder, for example, dairy products, caffeine, carbonated drinks and acidic foods. Many parents swear by the use of a bed alarm. A sensor is placed inside the child’s underclothes and is connected to an alarm that goes off if the child starts to urinate.
Remember, bedwetting is not bad behaviour that needs to be punished. It may be an inconvenience for parents, but bedwetting is a common and treatable problem in children.