Bedwetting in children is a fairly common problem. According to statistics, it affects approximately every sixth child under the age of 5 and every ninth child under the age of 7. What is the origin of nocturnal wetting and how to deal with such “accidents”?
- Bedwetting is involuntary urination during sleep by a child who is already able to control his or her physiological needs.
- To be classified as nocturnal wetting, it must happen at least twice a week and to children who do not have a congenital, acquired neurological or urinary tract disorder.
- For girls, the cut-off age when bed-wetting should no longer occur is at least 5 years of age, for boys it is 6 years.
As per the statistics, the problem of bedwetting occurs in many children of developmental age. Data for 2011 presented by Urology Review shows that 16 per cent of children under 5 years of age, 11 per cent of children under 7 years of age and 2-3 per cent of adolescents are affected.
Bedwetting is an embarrassing problem for children. Underestimated, it can have unpleasant consequences in the future, especially of psychological nature. Affected children feel “inferior” and isolate themselves. In fear of an unpleasant “accident”, they avoid trips with their peers, and if the problem appears at a camp or a summer camp, they feel compromised.
This is also a difficult situation for parents who are often afraid to talk to their children about bed-wetting, treating the problem as a taboo subject. This is partly because they don’t know how to talk to their children about embarrassing topics, and partly because they don’t realise how serious the problem is. And it can be really serious.
Causes of bed-wetting
Many of the problems faced by children in their developmental years lie in the psyche and are related to the emotions experienced by the child. As doctors point out, the problem of bedwetting can also be related to the emotional state of the child. Often, however, it is the other way around. It is prolonged nocturnal wetting that causes later psychological problems. It is therefore worth seeing a doctor as soon as possible, who will order the appropriate tests. Often nocturnal wetting can be one of the symptoms of urinary tract infection, urinary tract defect, nervous system disease, kidney disease, diabetes mellitus. It can also be the result of, for example, sleeping too deeply.
If the doctor excludes organic causes of diuresis, then he begins the diagnosis on the psychogenic background.
Your child is wetting at night. What can we do?
We can also follow some simple advice. First, try any non-pharmacological methods of dealing with nighttime incontinence. Start with:
- limiting drinking before going to bed;
- visits with the baby to the toilet just before going to bed;
- reminding your child to urinate;
- Clean up the wet sheets together in the morning with the child – not as a punishment, but to make the child aware of the situation;
- Set an alarm clock so that your child can also take care of his needs during the night, systematically emptying the bladder will avoid “accidents”;
- don’t use diapers.
In most children, the problem goes away on its own as they get older.