Bedwetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis, is an unintentional passage of urine during sleep. Enuresis or urinary incontinence is the medical term used for wetting. Urination is an involuntary process for infants and young children. Thus, wetting is normal in them. They may urinate in the clothes during the day or on the bed at night.
The expected age of a child to be dry at night is five. This is the time where they attain some degree of bladder control. Bedwetting may seem a normal phenomenon, however; it can be a problem if a child continues to wet the bed even after the age of 5. There is one in 20 children who, even by the age of 10, are still wetting the bed.
Impacts of bedwetting
Bedwetting, reportedly, has an impact on a child’s mental health. It affects their self-esteem, causing shame and of course guilt for everyone in the family. Bedwetting children are observed to avoid social activities such as sleepovers and school trips.
They may feel different from their friends, assuming that they are the only ones with this problem. In addition, bedwetting can also affect the parents of the child as well. They may suffer from extra laundry, the expense of overnight pull-ups and the stress of worrying about their child.
What are the preventive measures?
There are greater chances of a child to grow out of bedwetting by adolescence. One must stay optimistic and encourage their child to do the same. Thankfully, there are many solutions families can try as well. Following are some potential measures to prevent bedwetting in children.
Relax, wait, and see
Bedwetting is actually no one’s fault. Some children take longer to have urine control during night-time. This is because they may have a small bladder capacity or they might be less aware of a full bladder. Consequently, they don’t wake up easily when they need to go. Both these causes improve with age. So parents are advised to essentially relax and not worry.
One must ensure easy access to the loo overnight. A potty in the room can be helpful. Moreover, parents should always insist on a toilet trip before bed. Waterproof mattress covers and pads may be helpful in reducing everyone’s anxiety and lessens the burden all around.
Don’t restrict drinks
It may sound surprising but drinking enough during the day can prevent guzzling gallons before bed and this is worthwhile. Thus, parents are advised not to restrict drinks in their children. Many parents may try lifting their child for a loo trip when he/she is half asleep. They may wake them to go to the toilet to prevent a wet bed as well.
Bedwetting alarms can be helpful in the long run. They help the child to recognize their need to pass urine and wake spontaneously. It does take a commitment from the whole family but it is worth it as it works well.
This technique is helpful for children who are seven upwards. It typically takes about 5-6 months for the child to learn bladder control with the alarm and has a high success rate. Intriguingly, it works well with a reward system. Parents should praise or reward their child not only for dry nights but also smaller wet patches and waking up to the alarm.
Medicines can help as well
In case the situation persists for a longer time, medicines can help one with the situation. Desmopressin is one option because it reduces the quantity of urine produced by the bladder at night.
However, medicines are helpful for shorter periods like holidays and sleepovers. As a long-term treatment, it is not actually as effective as an alarm but it has a success rate of around 70%.
There are equal chances that these bedwetting treatments may work or not. Thus, parents are advised not to panic if the situation starts up again. Whatever solution you chose, remember almost all the children will stop wetting the bed by adolescence, stay positive!