Bed-wetting Causes, Treatments, and Helpful Tips for Managing the Condition
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Bed-wetting Causes, Treatments, and Helpful Tips for Managing the Condition

Bed-wetting medically known as nocturnal enuresis is a problem for many children and their parents. First of all parents should note that this condition is an involuntary release of urine during the night. This means that your child who is suffering from the condition cannot intentionally control his or her bladder. Therefore, punishment for bed-wetting is not going to solve the problem. This involuntary release of urine is called urinary incontinence and the child is really asleep while it is happening.

Bed-wetting medically known as nocturnal enuresis is a problem for many children and their parents. First of all parents should note that this condition is an involuntary release of urine during the night. This means that your child who is suffering from the condition cannot intentionally control his or her bladder. Therefore, punishment for bed-wetting is not going to solve the problem. This involuntary release of urine is called urinary incontinence and the child is really asleep while it is happening.

Bed-wetting is a separate condition from incontinence during the daytime. Children, or the few adults who experiences bed-wetting really are unaware that they need to urinate until it happens. People who experience incontinence during the day are usually well aware of the urge to urinate, but are still unable to control their bladders.

There are two type of bed-wetting – nocturnal enuresis

Primary enuresis – which means that the bed-wetting began at birth and continues after the toilet training period. Primary enuresis is a the result of an immature nervous system which did not develop as fast as it should have.

Secondary enuresis – The bed-wetting started six months after a period when the child was dry, (did not bed-wet).

Primary enuresis causes

By 5 years of age there are still 20 percent of children who wet their beds at least once a month. The numbers decrease to 10 percent by the time the children turn six. Bed-wetting is most prominent among boys. The percentage of bed-wetters decrease each year after 5 years of age by 50 percent.

Genetics

There is a family link to primary bed-wetting If one parent was a bed-wetter there is a 45 percent chance that his or her child will be a bed-wetter as well.

Causes of primary bed-wetting – primary enuresis

Children are not able to recognize the signals the nervous system sends to indicate the bladder is full. These signals are sent to a sleep arousal mechanism in the brain, but since they are not recognized as such, the children remain asleep.

A second reason for primary bed-wetting is that children with bed-wetting issues usually have a smaller urine storage capacity then other children. In other words their bladders cannot contain as much.

Primary enuresis – primary bed-wetting and emotional problems.

It is often said that bed-wetting is tied to emotional issues, but there is no solid proof to support this claim.

How to treat primary enuresis – primary bed-wetting

Believe it or not, for primary enuresis it is simply the passage of time. This condition usually stops on its own. Of course this is frustrating for both the parent and child who is often embarrassed and ashamed, especially when it interferes with social outings such as sleepovers and overnight camp. However, even this form of bed-wetting will clear up in time.

It is important to see a pediatrician to make sure the bed-wetting is of the primary variety and not secondary enuresis which is will be discussed in more detail later on.

Tips to deal with children who are bed-wetters

  • Remember that punishment is not an option. These children are not deliberately wetting the bed.
  • Make sure that your children go to the bathroom to urinate prior to going to bed.
  • Place a cover over the mattress to protect it from urine stains and smells

Bed-wetting alarms

Some parents have found bed-wetting alarms successful. However, these alarms should be used with children who are at least 6 years of age. These alarm devices determine the amount of urine held in the bladder and will wake the child up to go to the bathroom when they sense a full bladder. Bed-wetting alarms can be found on ebay and other online sites.

Bladder stretching exercises

Bladder stretching exercises are designed to strengthen the bladder so that it can hold a larger volume of urine; therefore, reducing the frequency for emptying the bladder.

Bed-wetting medications

Pediatricians may proscribe certain medications such as Imipramine brand name Tofrinil or antidiuretics such as desmopressin acetate (DDAVP). A study conducted in 2009 showed that ibuprofen (advil or Motrin can help strengthen the bladder muscle (detrusor muscle).

Prevalence for secondary enuresis

This form of bed-wetting is very rare with only 2 – 3 percent of children suffering from it.

Causes for secondary bed-wetting

  • Urinary track infections
  • Diabetes and other metabolic disorders
  • Rectal stool mass or other pressures put upon the bladder from external sources
  • Spinal Chord disorders

Secondary bed-wetting diagnosis

The doctor will take a complete history of the child and perform a physical. He or she will order an urinalysis and urine culture. Other radiological and laboratory tests may be required.

Treatment for secondary bed-wetting

Treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the bed-wetting as this problem must be addressed in order for the bed-wetting to stop.

Prognosis

Regardless of whether the condition is primary or secondary bed-wetting, the condition can be managed. With primary bed-wetting the condition disappears with age. However, with secondary bed-wetting the bed-wetting may not stop, depending upon what medical condition is causing it. However, parents and children can learn to deal with the situation with a little counseling and medical support.

Sources:

http://www.medicinenet.com/bedwetting/article.htm

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Comments (5)

Excellent. Voted up

Ranked #21 in Sleep

I wet the bed until I was about 13 years old. I was punished all the time for it, but I couldn't help it. As an adult I get up and go to the bathroom 4 or 5 times during the night.. if I were a heavy sleeper I would probably still wet the bed because I have to go a lot at night.. but not in the day time. I could go 6 or 8 hours without going in the daytime but have to go every hour and a half or so at night.

Ranked #1 in Sleep

because I have diabetes I have to have medication or I can't control my bladder

Very beneficial piece Carol, thanks.

Ranked #1 in Sleep

thank you Ron

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