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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How to Solve Bedwetting Problems

Below is the text of a post from the blog of Dr. Molly O Shea, a Michigan-based pediatrician. The original article can be read HERE.

Dr. Molly O'Shea: Ask the Pediatrician
Bedwetting is common; here's how to manage it

I get a lot of questions about bedwetting. I often suspect parents are going to bring it up when I walk into the room for a well visit for a really healthy 8-year-old boy and find both parents in the room.

In an attempt to solve the problem, parents have limited fluids after dinner, given their child a pep talk about getting up during the night if they feel the need to pee, and some have even set their own alarm or wakened their child when they go to bed to pee during the night. A few have tried dangling a big reward (like a new bike) if the child can stay dry, and others have punished their child for these wet nights. These strategies have something in common: They don't work.

What parents don't understand is that this is a very common problem, and their child is not to blame. Most kids complete potty training and stay dry throughout the day by age 3 1/2 to 4 years, but nighttime dryness can take much longer to achieve. Did you know that 9 percent of boys and 6 percent of girls still have consistent bedwetting at age 7? These percentages decrease only slightly by age 10, and even at age 18, about 0.5 percent of people wet the bed at least twice a month.

Sometimes the cause of bedwetting in school-aged kids is a sleep disorder. If your child snores a lot during sleep, be sure to mention this to your doctor. Very rarely is bedwetting caused by a neurologic problem and associated with constipation and clumsiness.

So what is a parent to do? First, it is appropriate to bring your child to the doctor to confirm there is no physical cause for the problem. This is especially true if your child never had bedwetting issues and has suddenly started wetting the bed.

Because an immaturity of the neurologic system is at the root of the problem, trying to train your child to stay dry at night before he or she is ready is futile. I liken it to trying to teach a 6-month-old to walk. How then do you know when your child is ready? If you have a family history of bedwetting and know the age at which the relative achieved dryness, you can start trying about 6 months or at most a year ahead of that age. If he has been wet every night of the week for years, and suddenly you are getting a couple of dry nights each week, it is a good time to try. Other signs of readiness are a desire to be out of Pull-Ups at night.

The best method for night training is to use a bedwetting alarm. These alarms awaken the child as soon as there is any wetness on the sensor. This process can take several months but is over 80 percent effective.

What about medications? DDAVP works by essentially turning off the kidneys so less urine is made. The medication works for about half the kids and can be tried if your child is going to camp or a sleepover.

Eventually, your child will achieve consistent night dryness either through normal maturation or the help of an alarm.

Dr. Molly O'Shea is a Troy-based pediatrician. Read Dr. Molly's blog at www.detnews.com/drmolly.

Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.


L. Danuloff, Ph.D. said...

I read your article and felt inclined to respond. I work with the Enuresis Treatment Center, which deals only with bedwetting cases, and I know they can help. They have treated thousands of bedwetters, including teenagers, and adults. Bedwetting is actually a problem caused by abnormally deep sleep, which doesn't allow for the bedwetter's brain and bladder to connect so they can effectively respond to each other.

In 99% of all bedwetting cases, the root cause is sleeping so deeply. It is an inherited deep-sleep disorder that results in bedwetting as well as a non-restorative, unhealthy sleep. This compromised sleep can also result in daytime symptoms; difficulty awakening, fatigue, memory difficulty, irritability, difficulty concentrating.

There is No guaranteed that someone will outgrow bedwetting, in fact after the age of seven, it is less likely. 1 in 50 teenagers, as well as 3.2 million reported cases of adults still wet the bed. More importantly, if a child were to outgrow this problem, they are then left with a sleep disorder, along with possible challenging symptoms that can no longer be treated. Meanwhile, the psychological impact of bedwetting can be devastating.

Studies indicate that deep sleepers rarely hear smoke detectors and can sleep through fire/burglar alarms. Alarms alone are ineffective as the key component for ending bedwetting. Children/Teenagers report great confusion and frustration when using an alarm, because they cannot hear it in time, or at all, to make any impact on the bedwetting. A majority of the time they simply experience another failed attempt to end their bedwetting. The core of the problem is an inadequate arousal of the brain, a sleep disorder that needs to be changed to permanently end the bedwetting.

We encourage parents to discontinue the use of diapers since they only keep the bed dry, not the child, as well as prolong the child’s suffering from the bedwetting and sleep disorder. There is a false belief that older children will get discourage by wearing Pull Ups or Good Nights and be able to wake up and go to the bathroom. Our experience with tens of thousands of bedwetting cases indicates this has never occurred. If a child could wake up, they would.

For 34 years, the Enuresis Treatment Center has been ending bedwetting for children, teenagers, and adults who thought there was no hope. Our research and experience has validated that bedwetting is the result of a genetically-linked sleep disorder that can be treated without drugs or invasive surgery. I would encourage your readers to visit their website and take advantage of their extensive knowledge.

Lyle D. Danuloff, PhD
Farmington Hills, Michigan

Anonymous said...

HOW I SOLVED MY CHILDS BEDWETTING-I tried waking my child up during the night, restricting fluids, bribery. None of this worked. I finally researched alarms on the internet. Using an alarm took 2 months but it worked wonders! From wet every night to completely dry every night!
My child (AGE 8) wore the alarm every single night for ten weeks. At the end of week 10, he had 14 dry days in a row! He became a much happier child, tons more smiles and much more positive attitude. I often wonder if he would still be wetting the bed if we hadn’t tried the alarm.
I strongly recommend the book, Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness, by Renee Mercer for all parents dealing with a child’s bedwetting. also the early chapter book for children, Prince Bravery and Grace – Attack of the Wet Knights by Gail Ann Gross. It is the story of a young prince who struggles with "the Wet Knights" and eventually defeats them by using an alarm. The book is full of dragons and knights which children love, and it provides a light hearted look at the challenges of defeating "the Wet Knights." It gives children hope and courage. www.braveryandgrace.com

You can solve your childs bedwetting, too. Get the books and an alarm -its the best decision i ever made.

Abigail said...

My kid is a bedwetter and have to wear diapers daily. This is informative. Thank you!