Bed-wetting

Children who still wet their bed may have an underlying psychological cause; however, it also may just be a part of normal child development. It is commonly known as nightmare incontinence, nocturnal enuresis or emesis. The process is involuntary urination while the child is asleep. By age five most children are trained, but between ages five and seven bed-wetting is still common. After age of seven, the likelihood of bed-wetting has decreased so it may be a cause for concern. When bed-wetting is accompanied by painful urination, unusual thirst, pink or red urine, hard stools or snoring, it is a cause for concern. Some common causes include:

  • Small bladder
  • Inability to recognize a full bladder
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Stress
    • Emotional
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes
    • Polyuria and polydipsia.
  • Chronic constipation
  • Structural problem in urinary tract or nervous system
  • Pinworm infection
  • Excess fluid intake.

Common risk factors are being a male, a family history, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Reason for concern is that there may be some complication associated with emesis:

  • Feeling of guilt
  • Feeling embarrassed
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling unable to sleep anywhere aside from one’s own home – impaired social life
  • May cause infection from soggy clothing touching the child’s bottom or genitals.

A physician may order some tests:

  • Urine tests
  • X-ray or imaging of kidneys
  • Other health-related tests.

Then a treatment plan may be established:

  • Moisture alarms
    • Battery-operated devices
  • Medication
    • Desmopressin – DDAVP – slows urine production
    • Oxybutynin – calms the bladder
    • Some SSRIs or antipsychotics may also help.
  • Lifestyle and Home Remedies:
  • Limit amount of hydration before bed
  • Avoiding caffeinated beverages
  • Double voiding before bed
  • Regular toilet use throughout the day
  • Treat underlying cause
  • Regularly apply rash cream to avoid irritations.
  • Alternative Medicine
    • Hypnosis
    • Acupuncture
    • Diet
    • Chiropractic therapy
    • Homeopathy.

Young children will need reassurance that they have nothing to be ashamed of and what they are experiencing is a normal part of development. When the children have to be placed on medication, they should be made aware of the side effects as well. Those who reside in Denver should visit the Denver Holistic Center for more information on bed-wetting.

When seeking medical care in these situations, a physician should be allowed to ask the child some private questions because sometimes there is a psychological cause for bed-wetting. At times it could be a sign of sexual abuse, and that must be ruled out. Additionally, a stressful home environment may cause a child to regress to a younger state, so the parents and guardians must also be questioned in such cases. Conclusively, bed-wetting is something many children experience and is something manageable.