Bedwetting during the night is much more common than daytime wetting in children, affecting thirty percent of children aged four. At five years of age, sixteen percent of children still have some difficulty staying dry at night.
The National Institutes of Health states that more than 5 million children over the age of five experience bedwetting. However, bedwetting in older children can result in embarrassment, shame and fear for the child. This can often prevent the child from attending events such as sleepovers, camping trips and other social gatherings. If this sounds like a problem that is affecting your child’s quality of life, have a read of our guide below on the potential causes and bedwetting solutions.
What is the Cause of your Child’s Bedwetting?
Emptying of the bladder that occurs during sleep is referred to by bladder health experts as Nocturnal Enuresis. Childhood Nocturnal Enuresis is often due to a matter of development. Very few cases of this condition are caused by structural problems in the urinary tract and most cases are not due to a major health problem. However, a large number of instances often result from a mix of factors including slower physical development, genetic disorders and emotional problems.
Slow Physical Development
Bedwetting in children between the ages of 5 and 10 may be the result of a small bladder capacity and underdevelopment of the body’s alarms which signal a full or emptying bladder. As the bladder grows and develops with age, these natural alarms become operational and this incontinence should gradually fade away with age.
Night time urinary incontinence has also been associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), OSA, and anxiety. Children may inherit genes from one or both parents that make them more likely to have nighttime incontinence. If you suffered from Nocturnal Enuresis as a child, it is much more likely that your child will as well.
A stressful home life or major life changes such as starting school, having a new sibling or moving to a new home are events which can commonly cause children to wet the bed.
Psychologist Sarah E. McAchran insists, “Emotional stress is often intimately associated with disorders of bowel and bladder function.”
What should you do if your child has Nocturnal Enuresis?
Although various genetic conditions may be the reason your child is wetting the bed, there are a number of things you can do to lessen the symptoms. Here are a number of useful bedwetting solutions that may work for you to combat the problem.
Create a Timed Voiding Schedule
Childhood incontinence is often worsened by a child not visiting the toilet enough times a day or even avoiding making toilet visits, therefore it is incredibly useful to create your own timed voiding schedule. This is to ensure your child is emptying their bladder regularly and within healthy intervals. Many children find this to effective as a simple reminder if they are in the habit of forgetting when to visit the toilet.
In June 2013 for example, a case study by the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin was carried out to investigate whether providing a child with a timed voiding schedule could effectively reduce bedwetting.
The study was tested on a boy of 8 years of age who had suffered from bedwetting for the entirety of his life. Prior to the case study, the only treatment that had been carried out was to stop any beverages being consumed after suppertime. He was an infrequent voider and reported going to the restroom only once during school hours, complaining often of constipation. A urinating schedule which ensured he visited the toilet a healthy number of times was given to the boy and repeated until the routine became a habit.
The boy was followed up sequentially at three-month intervals and was noted on each visit to have progressive and sustained nocturnal continence. He was given effective tools to continue this pattern to successfully resolve his nocturnal enuresis. Family nurse practitioner Coleen Weber Rosen states that in his most recent visit, the boy proved to have “great confidence and satisfaction that he was able to attend the Boy Scout jamboree without incident.”
To create a timed schedule for your child, you need to work out the times of the day in which your child consumes the largest amounts of liquid. Set aside a number of times per day to remind them to use the bathroom at the appropriate times of the day until this becomes a habit. Do not try to increase the length of time they can wait before having to urinate or teach them to resist the urge to urinate.
- Invest in a Waterproof Mattress
Waterproof mattresses and pillow cases are effective in absorbing urine and keeping the bed clean and fresh, making night time bedwetting much less stressful.
At Incontinence Supermarket, we stock a large variety of waterproof products which may be an ideal solution for managing your child’s incontinence at night time.
Have a look through our range waterproof products here.
- Eliminate bladder irritants and control liquid consumption
Begin by eliminating caffeine and sugary foods in the evening, such as chocolate milk or cocoa. If this has no or little effect, you may want to consider eliminating citrus juices and liquids with many artificial flavourings, dyes and sweeteners.
- Talk to a Paediatrician
It is wise to visit a Paediatrician to receive specialist advice on the most effective way you can provide treatment for your child.
What you need to tell the Paediatrician:
- Whether or not your child has always been incontinent during the night. Have they always urinated during the night since they were potty trained at a very young age or have they started bedwetting recently?
- Whether your child has physical or emotional delayed development. This is useful information in understanding the best way to combat the problem that will be appropriate for them.
- Dietary Information. Give a rough guide of the amount of liquid your child consumes during a day and a description of their dietary habits.
The Paediatrician will evaluate your child’s individual circumstances and come up with the most appropriate method that will suit both you and your child.