Bedwetting: causes and treatment
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Bedwetting: causes and treatment

Post by on Thursday, December 9, 2021

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Bedwetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis or nighttime incontinence, refers to when a person, irrespective of his age, loses bladder control during the night. Bedwetting can be found to be quite an uncomfortable issue. Bedwetting in children does not qualify as a legitimate medical condition, but rather a challenging inconvenience for both the child and parents.


For children, bedwetting should not be seen as a sign of bad toilet training, rather it’s normal as it is considered as a standard nighttime bladder control developmental stage for some children. For adults, it can be a symptom of hidden illness or disease and can be reduced or controlled with the help of a few lifestyle changes, bladder training, moisture alarms and sometimes medication too.


Though, bedwetting habits in children is normal but still treating it at an earlier age may avoid several embarrassing situations later in life. To make your child help to get rid of bedwetting habit, you can take a few steps:


1.    Increase liquid intake earlier in the day and decrease it later in the day. Give your child cranberry Juice. This remedy is effective if bedwetting is due to urinary infection. Consult with your child’s doctor and then give your child a half cup of cranberry juice three times a day. Cranberry juice is good for the bladder and urinary tract. It is highly recommended for children with bedwetting problems.


2.    Schedule your child's bathroom breaks, for instance every two to three hours during the day and especially right before bedtime.


3.    Give your child a water bottle to take to school so that he/she can drink water on regular intervals throughout the day to avoid excessive thirst after school.


4.    Constipation may be a reason for children for bedwetting. Urine control and stool elimination use the same muscles. With chronic constipation, these muscles become dysfunctional and contribute to bedwetting.


5.    Don’t wake up your child to urinate as regular waking him up may become a habit for him and it may lead to more sleeplessness and frustration.


6.    Resorting to punishment won't probably help him/her to get rid of such habit


What does Nocturnal Enuresis mean psychologically?


In the case of Bedwetting, psychological factors aren't the exception. Bedwetting can be a symptom of psychological stress and possibly trauma, both inside and outside the home. Significantly, psychological factors are more likely to play a role in the case of adults than in children. Although, according to some experts, bedwetting isn't caused by stress, but stressful behavior can make bedwetting worse.


What is bedwetting sign of?


Bedwetting can appear to be a sign of a hidden medical or emotional problem. The human body increases urine output in order to get rid of sugar. In adults, frequent urination is a common symptom of diabetes. An irregularity in the organs, muscles, or nerves involved in urination can cause incontinence or other urinary problems that may also result in bedwetting.


Is bedwetting a sign of anxiety?


There are many myths such as - kids do bedwetting because they are lazy, they wouldn’t try hard to stop it. And that anxiety led to stress which causes bedwetting. Moreover, behavior in which a child is involved after stress can worsen the problem of bedwetting. This problem could be resolved by keeping a few things in mind including - avoiding a high salt diet, emptying the bladder at night, and saying no to fluid intake before bedtime.


Bedwetting occurs in kids who are in deep sleep. To overcome this condition, parents should support their kids by not punishing kids for wetting the bed, reward them for dry nights, urge kids to do what other kids do like going camping etc.


At what age is bedwetting abnormal?


Maximum number of kids get fully toilet trained by the age of 5. But it is seen in many kids that they don’t find continence by the age of 7. In such conditions it’s better to consult a doctor if your kid started wetting the bed after a few months of dry nights or in some conditions snoring, hard stools, red or pink urine along with painful urination.


There are few more causes of bedwetting such as a small bladder, hormone imbalance, diabetes, constipation, urinary tract infection, inability to recognize full bladder, sleep apnea, family history could also be a cause for bedwetting as well.


Is bedwetting inherited?


According to few experts in the majority of the population, the problem of bedwetting is inherited. The tendency to wet the bed after the age of 5 usually runs in the family. If either or both parents wet the bed as children, it is highly likely that their child will be a bedwetter too. Additionally, there is an increased risk of bedwetting when the child has at least one sibling or extended family member who used to do it beyond the age of 5. In such condition you can do following these things:


1.    Exercise: Encourage bladder exercises to enhance bladder capacity. Bladder exercises help stretch the muscle that controls the release of urine from the bladder and increase bladder capacity. Muscle-strengthening and bladder-stretching exercises are considered good for bladder control.

Have your child do a muscle-strengthening exercise that involves tightening the pelvic muscles, holding the position for 5 to 10 seconds, and then resting for 5 seconds. This exercise has to be repeated 10 times, thrice daily.


2.     Encourage your child to hold off going to the bathroom for some time when the urge to urinate begins. This method may be more beneficial for accidental daytime wetting than nighttime but can help reduce the frequency of bedwetting episodes. It usually trains the bladder to hold an increased amount of urine without triggering the urge to urinate, thus helping children to hold their urine for 2 to 3 minutes more, each day.


3.    Avoid fluid intake before bed: Encourage your child to drink more fluids during the morning and afternoon but limit fluid intake during the last few hours before turning in for bed. The likelihood of bedwetting is naturally increased when the child goes to sleep with a full bladder. 


4.    Avoid giving your child caffeinated beverages, even hot chocolate, as caffeine is a known diuretic that stimulates urine production.


5.     Covering mattress with plastic: Cover your child’s mattress with a waterproof plastic sheet to prevent any liquid damage to the mattress and extend its shelf life.


6.     You can make your child wear absorbent underwear, also known as pull-ups, to keep their skin and beds dry in the event of a nighttime accident.


7.     Anxiety and stress tend to make bedwetting worse. So, instead of blaming or punishing your child, treat your child with love, support, and attentiveness to relieve their embarrassment.


8.     Offer simple reinforcements or rewards when your child has a dry night, and don’t be too harsh on the bad ones. Celebrating every stepping stone in your child’s journey will motivate him/her to keep on trying. You can even reward your child with little treats for having dry nights.


Final Thoughts

Bedwetting is not a problem that can be solved in a day or two. Be patient and allow these remedies time to work and your child’s natural development process to take its course.

Young children are unlikely to be bothered by bedwetting accidents unless the parents make a big deal about it. They are perceptive beings and can pick up on their parent’s critical tones, which only add to their guilt and embarrassment.


It’s best to be gentle, patient, and understanding while helping your child grow out of this developmental phase. To keep them from feeling ashamed and alienated on account of bedwetting accidents, it is essential to reassure children that there is nothing wrong with them and they are not the only ones who are going through this stage.


If all your efforts to control bedwetting continually go in vain, you should seek professional help from a doctor.

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