Bedwetting is the involuntary urination during sleep which is very common among young children. It affects about 15% of 5 year olds and about 5% of 10 year olds. Bedwetting has been found to occur more frequently in boys than girls. While most children overcome this hurdle as they grow, it is recommended to try out various treatments if the child is of the age of 7 years or older.
There are two categories of bedwetting, namely primary nocturnal enuresis and secondary nocturnal enuresis. Primary nocturnal enuresis is when the child has hardly ever been dry for a prolonged period whereas secondary enuresis is when a child who has been dry for more than six months starts bedwetting again.
Bedwetting is a medical condition that can have a huge impact on the child's emotional well-being, self-esteem, day time functioning as well as overall social and academic performance.
Causes of Bedwetting
Some of the major causes of bedwetting are family history with the condition, bladder dysfunction, overproduction of urine, difficulty in arousing from sleep, twitchy bladder, constipation and/or urinary tract infection. Nocturnal enuresis may also be as a result of a low level of the hormone responsible for controlling the amount of urine produced. Also, the urine bladder may be twitchy or over reactive when full.
Parents and guardians should take note that bedwetting is not the fault of the child and should therefore reassure the child that it is normal.
Possible Solutions to Bedwetting
Simple routine methods are highly recommended as initial treatment. They include encouraging the child to take less fluid during the night and more during the day, plus reminding the child to go to the toilet before going to bed.
Alarm therapy has an over 70% success rate especially if the parties are dedicated. It involves an alarm that awakens the child when he/she wets the bed. After some time, it can help the child to wake up before the urination occurs. My Dryness Tracker is a free mobile application that can be helpful when treating nocturnal enuresis.
If alarm therapy fails, then one can seek medical attention from qualified pediatricians. Desmopressin tablets serve as a replacement of the antidiuretic hormone that is responsible for reducing the production of urine during sleep.
Conditional management can also help alleviate the social/emotional impacts of bedwetting. It entails maintaining personal hygiene of the child, use of absorbent underwear and water proof mattress pads. lmipramine as well as other tricyclic antidepressants are also effective, however they should be used to treat resistant cases if the other methods fail.
Treatment of bedwetting requires a patient approach for it to be effective. Of great emphasis is the fact that it is not the fault of the child. Moreover, punishing the child will usually only exacerbate the condition.
World Bedwetting Day was launched in 2015, by the European Society for Paediatric Urology (ESPU) and the International Children's Continence Society (ICCS), and is marked across the globe on May 24th. The main goal of this initiative is to raise awareness and bring about an open discussion among healthcare providers and the public on how to address this issue.