Bedwetting is a common problem among kids in their growing stages. A child who is 4-5 years old and still wets his bed is considered a bedwetting child. Enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting during sleep. It is said that bedwetting is more common among boys than girls. However, bedwetting declines with age.
Enuresis is divided into two categories i.e. Primary and Secondary.
Primary Enuresis is when a child has never been dry at night and is dry occasionally, that too at night.
Wetting that develops after being dry for at least six months. The most common events that tend to cause bedwetting in children are Hospitalization –due to some illness or fever, entering school for the first time, and the birth of a sibling. It has been found that children may also experience stress from family problems and feuds like divorce, financial crisis, parental problems, etc.
Causes of Bedwetting
1. Hereditary, sometimes runs in the family and may get passed on to further generations.
2. Problems faced in waking up from sleep, which is quite common in children between the age of 3-5 years.
3. Stress caused due to family problems or other problems like school, friends, etc.
4. Slow development of the Central Nervous System which reduces the child’s ability to control his bladder at night.
5. Problems in hormone production that slow urine production at night.
6. Urinary Tract Infection can also cause bedwetting.
7. Problems in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls and boys.
8. Small size of the bladder which cannot hold urine for a long time.
Bedwetting can have a very bad psychological effect on the child and family. By the time a child is 6-7 years old, he/she is very embarrassed about their condition. This results in withdrawal and staying away from functions and gatherings that require sleeping outside the home. Due to this the child suffers from low self-esteem and is low on confidence.
In some cases, parents might also feel irritated about their child’s condition. In such a situation it is advised that the parents take full care of their child and make sure that he gains his confidence, most importantly the parent should try and remove all negative feelings from the child’s mind.
Treatment for Bedwetting
As the children grow old they grow out of their bedwetting habits. This is because their muscles develop, and their bladder capacity also increases. However many parents get irritated with their child’s abnormal habit and decide upon consulting a doctor. It is also important to consult a doctor to differentiate between primary and secondary Enuresis before the treatment starts.
Some methods that can be used to minimize wetting of the bed are
1. Try and minimize fluid intake as much as possible before going to bed, since a lesser amount of liquid will get stored in the bladder.
2. Cover the bed sheet with plastic. This makes cleaning much easier and the bed sheet doesn’t get dirty.
3. Bedwetting alarms can also be used. These are alarms that sense urine and start ringing so that the person can go use the toilet.
4. Bladder stretching exercises if done regularly help in increasing the volume of the bladder.
5. Night Lifting: Through this method, you wake up your child many times during the night so that he can go and urinate and stays dry in the morning.
Bedwetting can also be treated through various medicinal drugs like:
Imipramine improves the child’s sleeping cycle which in turn improves the functioning of the bladder muscles. However, this medicine can have serious effects on the patient and needs to be taken in moderation with a trained physician’s consent.
Desmopressin Acetate It is taken in the form of nasal spray and helps the body in making less urine. It gives quick results, however, it has many side effects accompanying it.
However, Bedwetting is a condition that is a hundred percent curable, provided the child and the parents work together in improving the condition by using various methods mentioned above or by consulting a doctor.
Bedwetting is not a serious problem and decreases with age.