What is bedwetting?
Bed-wetting is also known as night-time incontinence or nocturnal enuresis. Generally, bedwetting before age 7 isn’t a concern. At this age, your child may still be developing night-time bladder control.
What are the causes of bedwetting?
1. Bladder problems: ‘The bladder’ is the organ for storing urine, so that you can control when to ‘pee’. Some bladder problems include; small bladder that can not hold large volume of urine, frequent bladder spasms i.e contractions which squeeze urine from the bladder, delayed bladder maturation (which simply means that the bladder and the brain have not fully learnt to communicate with each other during sleep).
2. Hormonal problems: A hormone called antidiuretic hormone (ADH) causes the body to produce less urine at night. But some people’s bodies don’t make enough ADH, which means their bodies may produce too much urine while they’re sleeping.
3. Genetic (Hereditary): Most children who bed wet have one or both parents, who were bed-wetters as kids. This has been scientifically proven and related to some genes transferred from parents to their children. So if you wet the bed as a child, there is a greater likelihood of your child being a bed-wetter.
4. Deep sleepers: Some children sleep some deeply that they are unable to wake up when it is time to pee. Deep sleep could be as a result of sleep problems, stress, or psychological factors.
5. Constipation: when the bowel is full, it presses on the bladder causing it to contract. If this happens at night, then your child is likely to wet the bed.
6. Caffeine: does your child take caffeine? It has been shown that caffeine causes a person to pee.
7. Medical problems: Kids who have diabetes, problems with their urinary tract or infections of the urinary tract, spinal cord problems are predisposed to bedwetting.
What to do about your child’s bedwetting problem?
• Fluid restriction: Limit the food, water and drinks given to your child before bedtime and you can avoid foods or drinks that irritate the bladder and increase urination in the evening.
• Bedwetting alarms: There are clocks that ring when a person begins to wet the bed, so that she wakes up, turn off the alarm, go to the toilet to pee without wetting the bed too much. It may take weeks for the body to get adjusted to the alarm, but these alarms work most times and are not expensive.
• Lifting: This strategy involves making sure your child goes to the bathroom right before his bedtime, and then waking him up after he has been asleep two or three hours and taking him to the toilet.
• Bladder training: You can help your child delay urination during the day. Using a timer, you ask your child to tell you when he has to go, then ask him to hold it for another few minutes. You start with about five minutes and add a couple minutes each time till you get to 45 minutes. You extend the time between when your child feels like going to pee and when he actually goes to pee, in order to train the bladder to voluntarily hold urine for longer time. However, this process takes time and should be done everyday, but is effective if done properly.
• Drugs: When other options fail, sometimes doctors prescribe drugs like ADH analogues, which helps decrease production of urine, or other drugs that relax the bladder and allows it hold more urine. No drug has been proved to permanently cure bedwetting.