Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Bedwetting is more common than most people think. About 5 million children over the age of six in the U.S. wet their beds at night. Though it can be frustrating for both parents and their child, enuresis (bedwetting) is not a disease, but a common symptom.
Bedwetting is rarely a sign of a kidney or bladder problem; instead, it is usually associated with a sleep disorder, slower than normal development of bladder control, or a result of stress. It is also believed to be hereditary, meaning that a family member may have wet the bed as a child.
Bedwetting can be embarrassing for a child, especially if he or she is older because it can limit his or her participation in activities such as slumber parties, campouts and summer camp.
Some tips to help your child include:
Telling your child that he or she is not to blame for wetting the bed.
Changing before bedtime habits. Allow only 2 ounces of liquid after 6 p.m. and do not give liquids right before your child goes to sleep.
Not giving your child drinks or food that contain caffeine. Caffeine increases urine output.
Encouraging your child to use the restroom before he or she goes to bed.
Talking about the problem to your child’s doctor at his or her annual check-up.
Not punishing or blaming your child if he or she has an accident.
Praising your child if he or she makes it through the night without wetting the bed.
Protecting your child’s mattress with a plastic cover.
Letting your child help change the wet sheets.
During the day, have your child hold his or her urine as long as possible. This will stretch the bladder and allow it to hold more.
Waking your child two or three hours after he or she goes to bed to urinate.
Sometimes a change in diet is helpful in preventing bedwetting, especially if your child has a history of allergies. There are also bedwetting alarms available (usually at your local drug store) that are activated by moisture and wake your child up if he or she begins to wet the bed. This teaches your child to wake up if he or she has a full bladder. Your doctor may prescribe a medication that is available in both nasal spray and tablet form.
Remember that keeping your patience and giving your child support are the most important things you can do to help him or her resolve this problem. Most children outgrow nocturnal enuresis by the time they reach their teens.
If your child is also wetting during the day, complains of burning while urinating, is losing weight, has blood in his or her urine, or if the problem is affecting his or her self-esteem, call your pediatrician.