You’ve limited nighttime liquids, provided encouragement, and have made sure your child goes to the bathroom right before bed. Yet still, your child is frequently wetting the bed and you don’t know what else you can do. Nocturnal enuresis — the medical term for this condition — affects 15 to 25 percent of children around the age of five, and one to two out of 100 teens in the United States. Here is everything you should know about bed wetting and tips on how you can help your child overcome it.
Description of Condition
According to American Family Physician, there are two types of nocturnal enuresis: primary and secondary. Primary nocturnal enuresis is someone who has wet the bed since they were a baby; and secondary is when the condition develops six months or a few years after the child has regularly exercised bladder control. Bladder control is managed by the brain — when nerves in the bladder wall communicate with the brain when the bladder is full, then the brain helps provide control of bladder release. Those who urinate involuntarily at night may have an issue with the communication of the brain and bladder that control the release of urine. There are also many other suspected causes that are both physical and psychological.
Nocturnal enuresis can be caused by hormonal problems, bladder problems, genetics, sleep problems, caffeine, medical conditions or psychological problems. According to Healthline, the ADH hormone activates when you sleep, which slows the production of urine at night. There are some who don’t generate enough ADH, which results in a normal production of urine that may interrupt sleep or cause bed wetting. The issue may simply involve the bladder’s composition — it could either be too small or may have frequent muscle spasms that force the release of urine. Medical conditions that cause nocturnal enuresis include diabetes, urinary tract abnormalities, constipation, urinary tract infections and spinal injury.
Restrict the consumption of liquids and foods before bedtime. Specific foods and beverages that may fill up or stimulate the bladder include coffee, tea, chocolate, sodas and carbonated beverages. Make sure your child goes to the bathroom right before he or she goes to sleep. Positive imagery can help children stay dry, as well. Sit down with your child, before he goes to bed, and help him imagine a night where he doesn’t wet the bed. Stay positive with your tone and don’t put pressure on your child, but provide encouragement. Some doctors may prescribe your child a medication that increases the ADH hormone, which will support bladder control.
Parental Do’s and Don’ts
While you help your child overcome bed wetting, there are techniques you should use and others that won’t help the issue. Purchase a reusable water bottle for your child, so he can drink throughout the day. If he goes without water at school, he will be incredibly thirsty in the late afternoon and evening, which will load up his bladder right before bed. If your children have a bunk bed, make sure the child with nocturnal enuresis is on the bottom bunk, which will provide easier access to the bathroom. For reduction of damage, choose a bunk bed that is made of metal rather than wood. Wood may become stained or warped from nighttime bed wetting. If the child has a bed that is damaged by his nocturnal enuresis, it may affect his morale and worsen his condition. Don’t ever punish your child for bed wetting, as this will cause an increase in stress. The stress may become a psychological factor that actually prompts bed wetting. Don’t wake your child in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit, either — this will disrupt his sleep schedule and will cause frustration for everyone.