Unfortunately for many children and parents, bed wetting is a part of what should be a restful sleep. Many children have a bed wetting episode at least once in their young lives, which typically is nothing to be concerned about. Chronic bed wetting oftentimes raises a red flag for parents and doctors. In some cases the bed wetting is nothing to worry about and in other cases it can signal an underlying medical problem.
Some parents feel that bed wetting has more to do with a child being lazy and refusing to get up to use the bathroom, but the reality is the children are just as upset about the wet sheets and mattress as their parent, but don’t know what to do or how to express their feelings. Parents should never look at bed wetting as an annoyance that their child is capable of avoiding. Most children cannot help it, although they want to.
Most children do outgrow bed wetting. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 85% of children stop wetting the bed on their own by the time they turn 5. By the time most children turn 10, 95% of them have stop urinating in their sleep.
It does not just occur in children. This can also be a problem for adults.
Speak with your child’s doctor if chronic bed wetting persists beyond the age of 5. Around 5 years old is usually the time at which his or her body will slow down nighttime urine production. In some children this does not happen and will require a check-up.
Take your child for a check-up with their pediatrician to rule out medical causes such as kidney or bladder infection, an immature bladder or sleep apnea.
Some children simply fall into such a deep sleep that their brains are not coherent enough to signal the need to empty the bladder during the night.
Children who are constipated often wet the bed because the full bowel presses on the bladder an causes an involuntary contraction thus allowing the body to express urine.
Diabetes is a culprit often overlooked by parents. Diabetes causes excessive thirst and urination – many times occurring during the night.
Stressful environments can also be blamed for bed wetting including death of a loved one, divorce, separation or a move.
Bed Wetting Don’ts
Do not punish your child for bed wetting, many times they have no control over it or at least haven’t learned to control it.
Do not restrict water or fluids until a full medical exam has been performed. If a child suffers from a medical condition such as diabetes they will become excessively thirsty and restricting fluids is cruel.
Never restrict liquids if your child participates in a sport or activity that will leave him or her dehydrated. This is both cruel and dangerous.
Do not allow siblings to tease or make fun of the child who has the problem. Just like any other medical condition, they most likely cannot help it.
Medical Treatment and Medications
If bed wetting persists or is hurting your child’s self esteem and social life, the doctor may prescribe medication or treatment depending on the test results and medical evaluation.
Deep Sleepers and Alarms
The child’s doctor may prescribe a bed-wetting alarm that senses moisture, rouses the child from a deep sleep and gives them time to get to the bathroom. Some deep sleeps may not be awakened by the alarm and may need a parent’s help listening for it to go off. In many cases an alarm may take two to three weeks before a dry night and three to four months before they become the norm.
Prescriptions may be given to increase the hormone responsible for decreasing urine production at night or a drug to increase bladder capacity while decreasing bladder contractions.
As a very last resort an antidepressant can be prescribed that changes the child’s sleeping pattern. For many parents the risk of this drug outweighs the benefit.
What You Can Do At Home
Buy a waterproof mattress protector. These protectors fit over the mattress and under the sheet to protect the mattress from becoming wet and developing a urine smell. They come as both disposable pads and washable, reusable types. As an additional precaution, spray the mattress with Scotchgard to make the mattress waterproof.
Have you child urinate 10 minutes before bedtime and then a second time right at bedtime.
Increase trips to the bathroom and urination during the day time hours in an attempt to retrain the bladder and brain to connect with each other and signal the body to wake up at night.
Buy protective underwear that are filled with absorbent material to keep the sheets and mattress dry even if teh child urinates.
Give your child plenty of fruits and vegetables or a stool softener if constipation is the cause of his or her bed-wetting.
Stop Bed Wetting Home Remedies
Home remedies may or may not be met with success, but they are at least worth a try.
Give your child a teaspoon of honey about 10 minutes before bedtime. It is claimed that honey attracts and holds fluid through the night sleeping hours. Never give honey to babies or those that are allergic.
Minimize stressful conditions for your child as much as possible. Use herbs and teas made from lemon balm, horse tail and corn silk.
Increase the amount of milk, sesame based products, bananas and almonds, which have been shown to reduce and stop the incidence of accidents.
Limit the amount of meats, candy, cakes, ice cream, foods with artificial additives, processed foods, junk food, eggs and soy products which may increase the episodes.
Bed Wetting Facts
Statistically one out of seven kids will wet the bed.
More than half of bed wetters are boys.
1% or less males 18 and older continue to have nightly accidents.
The condition is medically known as enuresis.
George Orwell, famous author, suffered from enuresis.