Bedwetting in children is a common occurrence and often runs in families. It is also quick to disappear.
Still, this occurrence may be upsetting at the begging, but most children and young people learn to grow out of it.
Bedwetting is also known as nighttime incontinence or nocturnal enuresis, and it is often explained as involuntary urination, which occurs while asleep. This involuntary action happens after the age at which staying dry can be expected.
Homes are familiar with scenes of soggy sheets and pajamas and children feeling ashamed for these involuntary actions. Yet, this isn’t something that you should despair over.
Bedwetting isn’t a sign that toilet training has gone bad – it’s more a normal part of a child’s development.
Overall, bedwetting before age 7 isn’t a concern. Your child is still developing nighttime bladder control at this age, so bedwetting accidents are a regular occurrence.
However, if the bedwetting continues, this is a problem that can easily be fixed and treated with patience and understanding.
Simple changes, such as bladder training, lifestyle changes, moisture alarms, and even medication (subscribed by your doctor), may reduce bedwetting faster.
Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting)
Nocturnal enuresis is defined as nighttime bedwetting beyond age 5, and as a general rule, usually affects school-age children and, in some rare cases, teens.
Nocturnal enuresis isn’t a serious health problem, and children usually outgrow it with proper support.
The truth is that this condition may be upsetting both for children and parents.
Still, it’s important to be willing to help children and create a safe environment that will help children or children go through this condition as quickly as possible.
To achieve this, you must work with your child’s doctor to find possible causes and solutions.
Before we explain treatment options, let’s learn first more about nocturnal enuresis.
Nocturnal Enuresis Basics
Occasional bedwetting is common among children who are trained to use the toilet on their own. Up to 20% of children have some bedwetting problems at age 5, while up to 10% still do this at age 7.
The estimated rate of bedwetting is between 1% and 3% of children by the late teens.
Interestingly, bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis is more frequent in boys than girls, up to 2 to 3 times more frequent.
There are 2 types of nocturnal enuresis:
- Primary enuresis: this type occurs when a child has no control over the bladder at night, and always wet the bed.
- Secondary enuresis: this type occurs when a child have bladder control at night for a period of time, but then losts control again.
You may wonder if any of these two types are more common, and the answer is state primary enuresis is much more common. The secondary type appears more often in older children and teens.
A doctor should evaluate both types. In teen years, if your child goes through bedwetting, it could be a sign of urinary tract infection or some other underlying health problem, including neurological issues related to the brain, then stress, or any other health issues.
What Are Some Causes Of Bedwetting?
Being lazy is never a reason for a child’s loss of bladder control. In a minimal number of cases, this behavior may play a significant role. No matter the causes, parents need to be supportive and patient.
Science needs more to understand why bedwetting occurs.
Still, there are some claims on why this occurrence may appear, and many claims that it has something to do with a delay in the development in at least one of the following three areas at nighttime:
- Bladder: there isn’t enough space in the bladder at night
- Kidney: more urine is made at night
- Brain: unable to wake up during sleep
In different life stages, organs will react differently.
For example, in babies and toddlers, links between the bladder and the brain are yet to be formed, so the bladder will just release urine whenever it feels full. However, as children get older, the connection between the brain and the bladder develops and becomes much stronger.
This way, children can control when to empty the bladder. This control usually develops during the daytime first; it takes more time before it happens at night.
All in, bedwetting may be caused by several different reasons or a combination of many things, including:
- Genetics. According to statistics, if one parent wet the bed after five years old, there are 40% chances that their children will do the same. If both parents wet the bed, there are up to 70% chances that children will go through bedwetting.
- Stress. This is one of the most common reasons for bedwetting. Children can go through stress for many reasons. Some of the most stressful situations for them include school duties, homework, changing homes, witnessing their parents’ divorce, losing a parent or a partner, or going through a massive life event. If you just went through a significant life change, make sure that you talk with your child, and if the needed search for professional help can help your child go through this phase as gentle as possible.
- Deep sleep. Knowing how much sleep you need based on your age can be such a lifesaver. However, adults are more prone to understand sleep functions and how it works than younger people. In your 30es, you will appreciate the sleep so much, while in your 20es or your puberty, you would probably rather stay up all night and so some fun stuff, or even spend the entire night styling. So, deep sleep can be normal for adolescent development when there is a poor sleep schedule and too few sleep hours. This is very common for puberty and teen’s high school years.
- Constipation. Knowing human anatomy can sometimes help understand the problem better. The bladder and bowels sit very near each other in the body. A backed-up bowel (constipation) can push on the bladder and cause the child to lose bladder control. Treating constipation is usually the first step to treating bedwetting. If your child is having pain or straining with bowel movements, this could be easily the main reason for bedwetting.
There are also other factors to explore, such as:
Each of these conditions can be very serious and harm your child’s development and health, which is why it’s important to visit your physician or family doctor.
In some rare cases, specific medical conditions such as diabetes can cause enuresis in children.
Some studies have even suggested that with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have enuresis, possibly because of differences in brain chemistry.
There are also some indicators that specific medication can also increase the chances of bedwetting.
The Emotional Impact Of Bedwetting
Humans are sensitive beings. We are extra sensitive in development ages, especially as teenagers, which is why it’s crucial to know that every physical occurrence comes with a heavy emotional burden.
Therefore, being aware of bedwetting’s emotional impact is important because it may have an emotional impact on both children and their families.
Children often feel embarrassed, anxious, and some can even develop low self-esteem. In the long run, this can affect their relationship, schoolwork, and overall quality of life.
Children with bedwetting may feel like they cannot go to sleepovers with their friends or overnight camps.
Siblings may have to sleep in separate rooms or awake at a certain time when the alarm rings. Family members may have the extra work of cleaning dirty clothes and sheets.
It’s very important to remember that bedwetting is not a child’s fault or under his or her control.
So, never blame the child or use any negative reinforcement on the chid, but choose to focus on working with your doctor to understand the issue and find the best solution. This is the best way to take specific steps that will actually help your child.
Yoru child may have enuresis if she or he is over the age of 6 and often wakes to a wet bed. To set the right diagnosis, your health care provider will want to learn about the causes.
You will get a list of questions, including questions on how frequently bedwetting occurs and any other symptoms.
Before you make your appointment, it can be useful to track your child’s bathroom habits in a bladder diary. Include vital information, such as:
- How often does your child urinate during the day?
- How often does your child urinate during the night?
- How many liquids does your child drink during the day?
- Does your child drink flioods before dbed, indulging tea?
If your health care provides needs more information, your child may have a:
- Urine culture & urinalysis
- Blood test
- Bladder scan
- Urodynamic testing
There are many treatments for bedwetting, and they may differ from case to case. In most cases, treatment options will include simple changes, such as:
- Reducing the number of fluids your child drinks 1-2 hours before bed
- Creating a bathroom schedule use
- Using wetting alarm devices
- Prescription drugs
Will Bedwetting Stay With My Child Into Adulthood?
Bedwetting usually goes on its own. Some would even say that’s just the process of life. Most children will grow out of it by their teenage years or even sooner.
Secondary enuresis may go even faster as soon as the cause is found. If bedwetting has not stopped in the late teenage years, your child should be seen by a doctor.