Bladder Disorders Treatment Bed Wetting

A bed wetting child has more to deal with than just nighttime accidents: bed wetting is an embarrassing condition that restricts a child ‘s ability to go to sleepovers, camp, and other activities. If other children know about the bed wetting, teasing and humiliation result. Bed wetting chips away at a child ‘s self-esteem, and can slow down social development.

How do you help the bed wetting child? Be encouraging. This is not the child ‘s fault. Criticizing, punishing, and trying to “shame ” a child out of bed wetting will often only make the condition worse. Knowing the physical causes of bed wetting can make life more manageable for both parent and child.

A Few Facts About Bed Wetting

Under age five, bed wetting is considered an ordinary side effect of learning to control the bladder. After age five it ‘s usually an indication for some type of intervention. Generally, bed wetting children are otherwise healthy. Twice as many boys suffer from bed wetting as girls, and fifteen percent of all cases clear up naturally as the children ‘s bodies mature.

Most bed wetting children are between the ages of five and ten, but it isn ‘t unusual for the problem to continue into adolescence. In some cases, the problem lasts into adulthood, with young people entering college worried that their peers will discover they wear protective diapers at night.

Causes of Bed Wetting

Low levels of the hormone vasopressin appears to be involved in many bed wetting problems. At normal levels, the hormone reduces urine production at night, making sleep easier. Many bed wetting children do not produce enough of this hormone. Vasopressin production may increase as the child ‘s body matures, but some people have naturally low levels of the hormone.

Genetics also seems to play a part. If one parent wet the bed as a child, there is a 45 percent chance that the child will, too. That chance rises to 75 percent if both parents were bed wetting children. If you did suffer from bed wetting as a child, talking about this with your bed wetting child may help your child realize you understand how he or she feels.

Treatment: Medication and Bedwetting Alarms

Treatment for bed wetting can include a wide range of therapies. Some medications cause the urinary sphincter to tighten, reducing the chances of urine spillage. A new medication, DDAVP, is a synthetic version of vasopressin. Taken an hour before sleep it mimics the body ‘s normal vasopressin levels.

A bedwetting alarm may also help. The alarm is connected to a moisture sensitive pad that fits into the pajamas. When the bedwetting alarm detects moisture it sounds, waking the child. Over time, it should condition the body to wake up before the alarm sounds.

Some bed wetting children are extremely deep sleepers, however, and quite capable of sleeping through a bedwetting alarm. An emerging theory disputes the assumption that a moisture-sensing alarm is effective, and argues that bed wetting is actually related to a sleep disorder. An alternative approach is to have the alarm wake a parent or other involved person, who then fully wakes the sleeper and reshapes sleeping patterns so that deep sleep no longer interferes with signals to the brain that indicate that the bladder is full.

In any case, your physician is likely to have experience with treatment options that may help and can rule out any physical problems that may be contributing to the problem.

Nighttime Diapers for Older Children

While the bed wetting child is unlikely to want to wear diapers, the discreet use of pull-up type diapers for overnight trips allows the child to go to sleepovers and camps. Many protective diapers can be easily hidden under pajamas, and the child can remove them in the morning.

Resources

Familydoctor.org. (2001). Enuresis (bed-wetting). Retrieved March 1, 2002, from familydoctor.org/handouts/168.html.

Ferring Inc. (2001). What is bedwetting? Retrieved February 28, 2002, from www.bedwetting.ferring.ca/parents/information/index.html.

Ferring Inc. (2001). Treatment options. Retrieved February 28, 2002, from www.bedwetting.ferring.ca/parents/treatment/index.html.