is usually a
stage of development that kids simply outgrow with
patience and time. Check with your child’s physician
to rule out any illnesses or physical reasons.
Learn2 Cure Bedwetting
Wake up to a cure
Bedwetting is more common than you think, so if your child has
problems with it--don't despair. It's curable. This 2torial
covers the most successful techniques for treating the problem,
from scheduled wake ups to moisture alarms to special
medications. Help is on the way--just keep reading.
Before You Begin
The medical term for bedwetting is "nocturnal enuresis"
(pronounced "en-yur-ee-sis"), defined as the involuntary
nighttime discharge of urine after the child is old enough to be
able to control urination--usually around six years of age.
While doctors and scientists don't know all the causes of
bedwetting, they do know that it's not a behavioral problem, a
learning problem, or a mental problem. It can, however, involve
an underlying medical problem, such as a urinary tract
But the real trouble for a child can be the eventual development
of low self-esteem due to being punished, teased, or ostracized
for his or her bedwetting problem. Always use patience when
seeking a solution to bedwetting. Putting pressure on your child
will only make it worse for all involved. And remember that your
child isn't alone. Estimates say there are 5 to 7 million
children in the United States alone who wet their beds.
Step 1 Understand possible causes
For every possible cause, there's a person who isn't affected by
it but still wets the bed. Just remember that the possibilities
listed here may operate independently or in conjunction with
Small bladders. Some doctors believe bedwetters have small
bladders that simply overrun during the night. The bladder is
surrounded by a layer of muscle that can squeeze either
automatically or on instruction from the brain. If the brain
isn't listening or doesn't send the right messages, the bladder
will overflow or empty itself automatically.
Deep sleepers. Sometimes deep sleepers don't "get" the message
from the bladder that it's full. In this case, the bladder takes
matters into its own hands and the muscles around it squeeze, or
it simply overflows.
Step 2 Rule out underlying medical
If you plan to begin a concentrated program to end bedwetting,
first take your child to a doctor. He or she should be able to
rule out any underlying medical causes, such as urological
infections that can be treated easily. Your child should then be
screened for more serious causes, including:
* Kidneys that don't sleep. In certain cases, bodies don't
produce enough antidiuretic hormone (ADH) to tell the kidneys to
produce less urine at night. When a kidney doesn't slow down at
bedtime, it produces the same amount of urine as it would during
the day, overfilling the bladder.
* Food allergies. Some food allergies can seemingly "drug"
people to sleep very deeply. In these cases, the bladder may not
be able to wake up a deep sleeper, and it overflows.
Be sure to choose a doctor who's knowledgeable about the
treatment of bedwetting. If you're in the United States and your
doctor can't help or can't make a referral, contact the National
Kidney Foundation for a listing of physicians caring for
patients with bedwetting problems.
In general, a doctor experienced with helping bedwetters can
recommend the best approach, based on information you provide
about your child's daytime habits, how much urine is passed at
night, and how often. Your doctor can also effectively determine
whether or not allergies are part of the problem, or if
medication should be prescribed.
Step 3 Examine exercises and changes in
If medical problems have been ruled out, you can start trying
exercises and diet changes. These can be individually prescribed
either as the sole treatment for bedwetting, or in conjunction
with other techniques. Exercises are generally used to help
stretch and condition the bladder and to help the patient become
more aware of bladder control. Changes in diet are prescribed to
control allergies and avoid the diuretic impact of caffeine.
"Holding it in." During the daytime, your child can practice
resisting the initial urge to urinate. This exercise can
increase bladder size, but don't take it to extremes. Your child
shouldn't have to "hold it in" for more than ten minutes, and
you might want to have him or her start at two or three minutes
and move up from there.
Stop urinating midstream. This strengthens bladder muscles and
Diet changes. Many physicians recommend reducing the child's
intake of caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, many popular
soft drinks, and chocolate.
Food allergies. If these have been detected, the doctor will
recommend staying away from certain foods. The effect may be
less "drugged" sleeping patterns and the ability to wake up when
the bladder signals it's full.
Step 4 Look at "interruptive" methods
Interruptive methods wake up the bedwetter so he or she can use
the bathroom and go back to bed. There are a couple of ways to
Night-lifting. This procedure has the parents wake the child at
regular intervals, escort him or her to the bathroom to urinate,
and then walk the child back to bed. It helps the child get used
to waking, going to the bathroom, and emptying the bladder one
to three times during the night, so that with enough practice,
the procedure becomes an independent habit.
Moisture alarms. These are considered an effective way to treat
bedwetting and consist of a sound or vibratory alarm attached to
a sensor that attaches to bedclothes. When the sensor detects
just a drop of moisture, the alarm goes off, allowing the child
to wake up and finish urinating in the bathroom. If the child is
sleeping too deeply to hear the alarm, a parent may need to
listen for the alarm, wake up the child, and escort him or her
to the bathroom. Modern moisture alarms range from $40 to $80
Step 5 Consider hypnosis
Hypnotherapy is gaining greater acceptance in the medical
profession, and doctors are using or recommending it to help
patients with depression, smoking cessation, weight loss, and
The good news for bedwetting is that medical studies have shown
hynotherapy can cure it within four to six sessions. As such,
it's less expensive and less time- and sleep-consuming than
other approaches. Also, if hypnotherapy isn't going to work for
your child, you'll learn this rather quickly, because therapy
sessions can be scheduled fairly close together.
Hypnotherapy works by enlisting the aid of the patient's
subconscious and should be conducted by a trained, licensed
professional. As a positive bonus, hypnosis is useful in
rebuilding self-confidence in a bedwetter, because it gives the
patient the ability to treat him- or herself without external
Step 6 Consider medication
Some parents have found immediate cures for their children by
trying medications that instruct the kidneys to produce less
urine at night or reduce the frequency and intensity of bladder
contractions. These are especially useful for times when the
child wants to join a slumber party or go to camp.
Unfortunately, the solutions usually stop working once the
medication is withdrawn. Also, this method is more expensive
than others, costing between $60 and $240 (U.S.) per month,
depending on the medication and dosage.
Desmopressin acetate. This drug is administered through a nasal
spray and works as a substitute for ADH, the hormone that
instructs the kidneys to concentrate urine during the night. In
some cases, it can be effective the first night. Doctors usually
prescribe its use for three months and then have the child taper
off the medication to see if he or she can stay dry. Many
children resume bedwetting, but some do not. For those who do
resume, the doctor may try restarting the medication and
stopping it again every few weeks to see if the child can remain
dry at night without it. Side effects may include headache,
runny nose, pain in the nostrils, or stuffiness.
Imipramine. According to the National Enuresis Society,
imipramine has been helpful in preventing bedwetting for
approximately 30 percent of the children using it. An
antidepressant, one of imipramine's useful side effects is to
reduce the frequency and intensity of bladder contractions. It
also helps limit the amount of time spent in deep sleep. Keep in
mind that all antidepressants are powerful drugs and that some
have serious, unhelpful side effects, especially in children.
All of the techniques outlined in this tutorial are meant to
underscore that bedwetting is not anyone's fault. Rather, it's a
problem that requires a concentrated effort--and sometimes
several different approaches--to cure it. But dry nights are
definitely possible for your child, and now that you're armed
with this information, they're closer than ever before.
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