• Bedwetting: Causes and Management

    After being successfully potty-trained, why do some children still wet the bed?
  • wet bed

    Photo from theguardian.com

    This article first appeared in the July-August 2003 issue of Smart Parenting magazine

    Six-year-old Amanda began schooling at age four. Results at school have been good according to her mom Ruth, but Ruth doesn’t understand why, even after potty-training at home, her Amanda still wets her bed at night at least three times a week. It seems like Amanda will never get used to sleeping in dry pajamas and Ruth is close to panic.

    Parents like Ruth have no cause for panic. Frustration in both child and parent just might lead to feelings of low self-esteem in the child. “Never be angry with or punish your child because he or she is not doing it deliberately”, advises Dr. Susan Bolante-Kapalungan, M.D., Diplomate in Pediatrics and physician at the Delgado Memorial Hospital and at the St. Luke’s Medical Center.

    “Your child’s condition is very common. It’s called enuresis and happens to children, toilet-trained or not, and even to adults. Enuresis or the involuntary discharge of urine during sleep must be treated as unimportant as possible. It is perfectly normal even if it occurs six months to a year after successful toilet training. Usually, the condition will pass as they get older, but parents, as always, can encourage change by monitoring their child’s development”, says Dr. Bolante-Kapalungan. Try not to be pressured by the situation and try not to put undue pressure on your child.

    “Parents should only feel alerted if their child has already become successfully toilet-trained for a period of time and then reverts to bedwetting at age 6 for boys, and at age 5 for girls”, she adds.

    Medical research shows bedwetting affects 15-20 percent of five-year olds, 7 percent of seven-year olds and 1-2 percent of adolescents and adults. For some unknown reason, the males appear to be more affected by bedwetting than the females. Parents are also advised to watch out for a pinkish hue in the urine, for complaints of burning or pain when the child urinates, or for any redness or rash in the genital area. If that’s the case, call your pediatrician as soon as possible. These guidelines apply to both girls and boys.


    What causes bedwetting?
    Suggested causes for continued dampness at nighttime vary:
    1. If your child wets his or her bed consistently, his or her bladder may be small.
     

    2. He or she may not have developed the ability to wake up in response to a full bladder yet. Normally, a hormone released at night limits trips to the bathroom by decreasing urine flow. It could be that like some children, your child still lacks this hormone. If this is the case, your physician may suggest hormone medication. This treatment works wonders especially for sleepovers, camping or travel.
     

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    3. If your child is bed-wetting but shows no signs of emotional or physiological problems, it may simply be a congenital situation. Bedwetting may, in fact, run in families (as supported by research). If any of the parents wet the bed as a child, he or she has 23-77 percent chance to do exactly the same.


    Managing bedwetting
    Your child needs your help in achieving this goal. Below are suggestions to help you manage his bedwetting until he finally outgrows it for good:

    1. Protect his bed mattress with a plastic sheet. This will help prevent the development of bacteria in the mattress that could cause infection on your child’s skin.

    2. Let your child wear absorbent undergarments such as extra-thick cloth or disposable training pants.

    3. Monitor your child’s pre-bedtime activities. Avoid too much excitement before sleep. Limit your child’s playing or watching of TV programs that show strenuous actions or animation.

    4. As much as possible, reduce his amount of fluid intake before bedtime. Stick to milk and give no more than what is recommended by the pediatrician.        

    5. Train your child to urinate before he goes to bed. Once your child gets into the habit of using the bathroom before sleeping, he is on the way to waking up in dry pajamas.

    6. Motivate your child to get up as soon as he feels dampness. Change both his bedding and wet clothes immediately so his skin doesn’t get irritated.

    7. Monitor and chart successful nights initially so you can gauge his progress.

    8. Observe and try to establish the time when your child wets the bed. If you know when it is likely to happen, you can wake him up to use the bathroom.


     

    Bedwetting Blues

    Keeping your child dry at night

     

    By Onnah Valera

     

    Six-year-old Amanda began schooling at age four. Results at school have been good according to her mom Ruth, but Ruth doesn’t understand why, even after potty-training at home, her Amanda still wets her bed at night at least three times a week. It seems like Amanda will never get used to sleeping in dry pajamas and Ruth is close to panic.

     

    Parents like Ruth have no cause for panic. Frustration in both child and parent just might lead to feelings of low self-esteem in the child. “Never be angry with or punish your child because he or she is not doing it deliberately”, advises Dr. Susan Bolante-Kapalungan, M.D., Diplomate in Pediatrics and physician at the Delgado Memorial Hospital and at the St. Luke’s Medical Center.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

     

    “Your child’s condition is very common. It’s called enuresis and happens to children, toilet-trained or not, and even to adults. Enuresis or the involuntary discharge of urine during sleep must be treated as unimportant as possible. It is perfectly normal even if it occurs six months to a year after successful toilet training. Usually, the condition will pass as they get older, but parents, as always, can encourage change by monitoring their child’s development”, says Dr. Bolante-Kapalungan. Try not to be pressured by the situation and try not to put undue pressure on your child.

     

    “Parents should only feel alerted if their child has already become successfully toilet-trained for a period of time and then reverts to bedwetting at age 6 for boys, and at age 5 for girls”, she adds.

     

    Medical research shows bedwetting affects 15-20 percent of five-year olds, 7 percent of seven-year olds and 1-2 percent of adolescents and adults. For some unknown reason, the males appear to be more affected by bedwetting than the females. Parents are also advised to watch out for a pinkish hue in the urine, for complaints of burning or pain when the child urinates, or for any redness or rash in the genital area. If that’s the case, call your pediatrician as soon as possible. These guidelines apply to both girls and boys.

     

     

    What causes bedwetting?

    Suggested causes for continued dampness at nighttime vary:

    1. If your child wets his or her bed consistently, his or her bladder may be small.

    2. He or she may not have developed the ability to wake up in response to a full bladder yet. Normally, a hormone released at night limits trips to the bathroom by decreasing urine flow. It could be that like some children, your child still lacks this hormone. If this is the case, your physician may suggest hormone medication. This treatment works wonders especially for sleepovers, camping or travel.

    3. If your child is bed-wetting but shows no signs of emotional or physiological problems, it may simply be a congenital situation. Bedwetting may, in fact, run in families (as supported by research). If any of the parents wet the bed as a child, he or she has 23-77 percent chance to do exactly the same.

     

     

     

    Managing bedwetting

    Your child needs your help in achieving this goal. Below are suggestions to help you manage his bedwetting until he finally outgrows it for good:

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

     

    1. Protect his bed mattress with a plastic sheet. This will help      prevent the development of bacteria in the mattress that could cause infection on your child’s skin.

     

    2. Let your child wear absorbent undergarments such as extra-thick cloth or disposable training pants.

     

    3. Monitor your child’s pre-bedtime activities. Avoid too much excitement before sleep. Limit your child’s playing or watching of TV programs that show strenuous actions or animation.

     

    4. As much as possible, reduce his amount of fluid intake before bedtime. Stick to milk and give no more than what is recommended by the pediatrician.        

     

    5. Train your child to urinate before he goes to bed. Once your child gets into the habit of using the bathroom before sleeping, he is on the way to waking up in dry pajamas.

     

    6. Motivate your child to get up as soon as he feels dampness. Change both his bedding and wet clothes immediately so his skin doesn’t get irritated.

     

    7. Monitor and chart successful nights initially so you can gauge his progress.

     

    8. Observe and try to establish the time when your child wets the bed. If you know when it is likely to happen, you can wake him up to use the bathroom.

     

     

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