Do you still have to change the soaked sheets of your child who is past toddler-hood? Bedwetting in children who are over the age of five is a major cause of concern and frustration for their parents and is a far more common problem than you think. Since it is an issue not spoken about, children might feel they are the only one’s bedwetting, compounding their guilt and embarrassment. The problem of bedwetting in kids is also more common in boys than in girls.
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Bedwetting in kids: Causes and Solutions
Causes of bedwetting in kids
Bedwetting is caused by a number of factors which could be out of the child control. However, it is NOT caused by the child willfully or because of his laziness to go to the bathroom. The causes of bedwetting could include:
- Genetic (runs in families). Chances are if the child is bedwetting, either parent could have had the problem in their childhood too.
- Deep sleeping which makes it difficult for the child to wake up to go to the bathroom.
- Constipation which puts pressure on the bladder and causes uncontrolled bladder contractions during waking hours or during sleep.
- Urinary tract infections which could lead to irritation to the urinary tract or frequent urge to urinate.
- Type 1 Diabetes (high level of glucose in their blood) which causes urine output to increase due to excessive blood glucose levels.
- Frequent urination is a common symptom of diabetes.
- Slower than normal development of the central nervous system (bladder maturation) which impairs the bladders’ ability to communicate with the brain when it is full during sleep. This reduces the child's ability to wake up and to stop the bladder from emptying at night.
- Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys.
- Emotional stress caused by major or sudden changes in the child’s life could also lead to bedwetting. This could be due to a conflict between parents which negatively affects the child, starting school, moving to a new home. Children who are being physically or sexually abused sometimes begin bedwetting.
Also read: Sleep Disorders in Toddlers: Causes & Treatment
Solutions for bedwetting in kids
Most children outgrow bedwetting as they grow a few years older. However, some children might need expert intervention. Your doctor could start with Therapy and in cases where therapy does not work, medication could be required.
Behavioural therapy can be tried before medicinal therapy. It works most effectively when the parents are equally involved in the child’s treatment. Behavioural therapy includes:
Other methods the parents can try include:
- Motivational therapy: The key here is to take away the guilt your child feels about bed-wetting. The child’s progress (dry days) are positively reinforced with praise or a reward system.
- Behavioural conditioning: This uses a moisture sensor and alarm. The moisture sensor is placed such that it can detect the first traces of bedwetting and sound the alarm. The alarm wakes the child to go to the bathroom. The idea here is to condition the child to wake up in the night to use the bathroom when needed.
- Bladder training: Bladder training exercises are aimed to teach kids to wait longer between bathroom breaks. As the child tries to hold in urine longer during the day, it increases the amount of urine his bladder can hold at night.
- Limiting the amount of fluid the child consumes in the hours before bedtime.
- Gently wake the child up a few hours after he has gone to bed to use the bathroom.
- Finally, if the other methods do not work and the child is over seven years of age, the doctor may give the child medication. The medicines work either by helping the bladder hold more urine or by helping the kidneys make less urine. However, medicines aren't a cure for bed-wetting.
Also read: The Truth About Sleep And Brain Development In Babies
What parents need to understand:
- Bedwetting is not done by the child on purpose. Do not shame the child by reprimanding him severely or narrating the incident to other people. This could worsen the problem and make the child withdraw in his shell.
- This is only a temporary phase which will pass with understanding and patience on your part.
- In the meantime, place a plastic sheet under the bed sheets till the problem has stopped to avoid the child the embarrassment and you the frustration of drying out a soaked mattress.
The problem of bedwetting in kids is embarrassing and frustrating for the child and he is not able to exercise control over his bladder. This becomes a cause of anxiety for the parents too. Remember, this phase will pass with your patience and understanding. Constantly reassure your child that he will have dry days and praise him for his progress.
Also read: 10 Precautions To Take While Co-Sleeping With Your Newborn
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