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Bed-wetting

Causes of Bed-wetting

Although all of the causes of bed-wetting (enuresis) are not fully understood, here are some possible causes: •Your child’s bladder is not yet developed enough to hold urine for a full night. •Your child is not yet able to recognize when his bladder is full, wake up, and use the toilet. •Your child is responding to changes or stresses going on at home such as a new baby, moving, or divorce.

All young children occasionally wet their beds while going through nighttime toilet training. Most school-aged children who wet their beds have primary enuresis. This means they have never developed nighttime bladder control. Instead, they have had this condition since birth and often have a family history of the problem. Children who are older when they develop nighttime bladder control often have at least one parent who had the same problem.

Signs of a problem

If your child has been completely toilet trained for 6 months or longer and suddenly begins wetting the bed again, talk to your pediatrician. It may be a sign of a medical problem such as: •Bladder or kidney infections •Diabetes •Defects in the child’s urinary system

However, keep in mind that less than 1% of bed-wetting cases are related to diseases or defects. If your child has a medical problem that is causing the bed-wetting, there are usually other signs including: •Changes in how much and how often your child urinates during the day •Discomfort while urinating •Unusual straining during urination •A very small or narrow stream of urine, or dribbling that is constant or happens just after urination •Cloudy or pink urine, or bloodstains on underpants or nightclothes •Daytime as well as nighttime wetting •Burning during urination

Tips to manage bed-wetting

It is important for parents to be sensitive to the child’s feelings about bed-wetting. Make sure your child understands that bed-wetting is not his fault and that it will get better in time. Until then, the following steps might help: •Protect the bed by putting a rubber or plastic cover between the sheet and mattress. •Let your child help in changing the wet sheets and covers. This teaches responsibility and can relieve any embarrassment from having family members know every time he/she wets the bed. •Set a no-teasing rule in your family. •Take steps before bedtime. Have your child use the toilet and avoid drinking large amounts of fluid just before bedtime. •Try to wake up your child to use the toilet again before you go to bed if he’s been asleep for an hour or more. •Reward your child for “dry” nights, but do not punish him for “wet” ones. •Use a bed-wetting alarm device. This device senses urine, and sets off an alarm so that the child can wake up to use the toilet. When used exactly as directed, it will detect the wetness right away and sound the alarm. Be sure your child resets the alarm before going back to sleep. •Medications are usually a last resort if the problem has not resolved after 4 to 6 months.

A small number of children who wet the bed do not respond to any treatment. Fortunately, as each year passes, bed-wetting will decrease as the child’s body matures. By the teen years almost all children will have outgrown the problem. Only 1 in 100 adults is troubled by persistent bed-wetting. Until your older child outgrows bed-wetting, he will need a lot of emotional support from the family. Try not to pressure your child to develop nighttime bladder control before his or her body is ready to do so.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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