Bedwetting is a problem that is fairly common in pediatric aged children and a lot of parents may encounter a difficult time to manage this issue. Although, vast majority of cases are reported in young children but latest data suggest that bedwetting is also reported in a fair percentage of teens who lack complete control over their bladder.
Bedwetting is usually not a sign of any abnormality or disease, it’s just a normal and ordinary part of development process. However, it can be safely stated that bed wetter often feel uncomfortable and embarrassed if the problem is not addressed early. This may even interfere with their normal mental and physical development and affect social behavior (such as some children may feel reluctant to spend night outside of home and feels nervous about letting others know about this issue).
What Are Some Common Causes of Bedwetting in Children?
Bedwetting should not be considered as children’s mistake or error. It’s a natural thing with no definite cause and occur when the bladder gets fully occupied by urine at night and the child fails to hold it till he wakes up.
Here are some factors that can make bedwetting worse in children (but don’t worry because you can control these factors with little effort) to reduce the incidence of bedwetting.
- Stress may increase the episodes of bedwetting in children. The stress could from physical, psychological or environmental factors such as bullying, abusing, loneliness, ending of school holidays, etc.
- Caffeine containing foods are also responsible for increased urination because caffeine acts as a diuretic compound as it increases the amount of urine formation by the kidneys.
- Constipation may also be considered as a factor of promoting uncontrolled urination as it exerts pressure on the bladder, causing early emptying.
- Children who are suffering from ADHD i.e. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder are more likely to have bedwetting problems.
- Other rare reasons of bedwetting are urine infection, diabetes, sleep apnea (breathlessess at sleep) etc. Specific day time bedwetting can be taken as a sign of medical disorder which can be diagnosed by examining the urine sample of the person.
How to Deal with Bedwetting in Children
1. Be Patient and Take Effective Measures
- Show patience, reassurance and love: Do not make your child feel embarrassed if he does not stop voiding on bed by the age of three. Instead praise him a little and treat him with confidential words that he can stop and take control over this habit. Do not punish or insult your child.
- Use water resistant sheets: parents can use water resistant sheets over their mattress to avoid deep wetting and to ease the consequences.
- Let you child take the responsibility: Parents may feel fed up of changing the bed sheets every day. They can also ask their children to change the sheets to promote healthy habits that may also discourage bedwetting behavior.
- Explain to children: Discuss little physiology in front of your children in an easy way to make him understand what he is supposed to learn. Explain the child that there is system of storing water in a balloon in his body. When the balloon gets full it should be emptied as soon as possible otherwise it will leak. Learn more on how to talk to your kids about their bedwetting:
2. Make Changes in Your Baby’s Diet
- Limit water intake around bedtime: Normal intake of water should be around 250ml but if your child is suffering from any medical disease you should limit your child’s drinking to control it (especially around night time).
- Avoid caffeine containing products: Caffeine is a diuretic agent found in certain beverages like cola, chocolates and other snacks. Do not allow your child to consume these products after 6PM in order to control bedwetting.
3. Encourage Better Toilet Habits
- Voiding at bed time: Developing a habit of urinating before going to bed is also fairly helpful in controlling the incidence of bedwetting in children.
- Toilet training can be helpful: Encourage your child to urinate once or twice every two to three hours to avoid sudden urgency and encourage him to feel free to call whenever he feels any discomfort.
- Encourage getting up when needed: Sometimes children are also afraid of voiding and going to washroom at nights. Common reasons of this can be fear of dark, spiders or bugs that may sting him. Try to leave to bathroom lights open for little encouragement so that they can get up and void their bladder at night.
4. Set Up a Reward System
Setting up a reward system may help in encouraging your child to learn and take over this habit. You can simply use a calendar with little space for each day to assign a star whenever he completes a dry night. Also you can give stars for urinating daily before going to bed.
5. Consider Those Treatment Options
Bedwetting in children usually stops with the growing age as the child learns how to control and go to the toilet. However, some treatments are also advised when seeking for early learning.
- Bedwetting Alarms: Your doctor can advise you to use alarms called pad or bells that can help in early management of this issue. The time duration usually last for 3-5 months to relieve from this habit completely. The alarms work in a way that it goes off when it senses the wetting of bed. This makes the kid to wake up and use the toilet at nights.
- Pharmacological Options: Use of medicines can also be helpful in getting rid of this habit. Although it is not the permanent treatment and there is always a mild risk of recurrence once the treatment is discontinued. Desmopressin is commonly used for this treatment especially when going for holidays or staying away from home.
6. When Nothing Works
- Turn to nappies: You can go back to napping if your child does not stop bedwetting by any other means. Napping reduces the pressure and eminent embarrassment while giving ample security to retrain himself.
- Look over any medical issues: Your child might be suffering from any disorder, making him more habitual of voiding on bed. Parents should investigate any underlying cause like constipation, mental stress, emotional issues, joint aches etc. and seek medical evaluation for prompt management.
The following video provides more tips on coping with bedwetting in children:
When to See a Doctor
Parents are advised to consult a doctor immediately if they observe any unusual reason causing bedwetting. Following are signs of bedwetting which should be taken in concern to avoid further complications.
- Sudden onset in frequent bedwetting
- Day time bedwetting
- Snores heavily at night
- Pain or burning sensation while voiding
- Frequent urination
- Recent increase in the fluid intake (may be a sign of juvenile diabetes)
- Crossed 7 but still wetting the bed
Furthermore you can also let your doctor know about your child’s any unusual behavior or stress he is feeling.