Bedwetting is most common in children under the age of six.
It is not abnormal for young children to wet the bed at night – even when they have learnt to use the toilet during the day. Don’t be unduly concerned about bedwetting unless your child is older than six. Before then, your child’s body may not have developed enough to control bladder action during sleep. Time usually heals the problem and most children resolve any difficulties on their own by the age of seven.
The most important thing to remember about bedwetting is that it is involuntary.
It is not fully understood why bedwetting occurs. It is thought to be a stage whereby the child has not fully developed his or her bladder control mechanisms fully for use at night. Very rarely is it an infection; however, if you are concerned, it is a wise idea to take your child to a healthcare professional for a check up.
The child may be consuming too much fluid before going to bed, which could trigger or aggravate the problem.
Any new, stressful situation may cause a child to revert to bedwetting, as can being overtired or sick. Once your child adjusts to the situation, the problem should resolve itself. If your child does not improve, the treatments listed here may help. In addition, you may want your child to talk through his/her fears.
Your practitioner will first ensure the problem is only minor and is not disease-related.
There are three primary ways to treat bedwetting in an otherwise healthy child:
Waiting for the problem to fix itself (this may make the child anxious however)
Using behavioural conditioning (this uses a device with a sensor that detects wetness and sets off an alarm, help the child to begin associating a full bladder with being awakened, and helps the body to learn to wake up by itself when the child needs to urinate)
Undertaking drug therapy (this is considered to be less effective because most children relapse after stopping medication, however it may be useful for short-term situations such as when the child is sleeping over with friends).
Magnesium phosphate and potassium phosphate may help to support nervous system function in cases of anxiety.
Homoeopathics and/or Bach flower remedies may also be considered along with a physical therapy such as Bowen therapy. This is a gentle and relaxing technique that supports the body’s own healing resources
Sometimes bedwetting is associated with food allergies. Try eliminating milk products, citrus fruits, and chocolate from your child’s diet as these are the foods most frequently linked to allergies.
Ensure that your child does not drink fluids in the evening, in order that the bladder may be emptied before going to bed.
If you are using an alarm device for behavioural conditioning, avoid heavy sheets and pyjamas which can cause sweat, and can set off the alarm.
Prevent the mattress from getting wet by using a plastic-lined mattress cover (which may cause the child to sweat) or, better yet, provide him with a small, rubberised, felt-covered pad that he can place over the wet area on the bed after an accident.
Consult your healthcare professional if:
Your efforts to help your child learn to stay dry through the night are not working, or your child wants additional help in managing the situation
Your child is wetting the bed and has frequent or painful urination, dark brown urine (a sign of bleeding), abdominal pain, or fever; these symptoms may indicate a urinary tract or bladder infection
Your child experiences side effects from any medication used to control bedwetting