How To Help Children with Bedwetting
Bed-wetting is a common problem in young children, but the condition usually resolves by the time a child reaches the age of 7. About 5 million American children wet the bed, according to the National Institutes of Health. In most cases, bed-wetting is the result of a problem such as a bladder that is too small. Emotional problems are only rarely the cause of bed-wetting, but in children who suddenly start wetting the bed, it could be the cause. Although bed-wetting is something most children will outgrow, there are some things parents can do to help.
If your child routinely wets the bed, there are some changes you can make to the bedtime routine to possibly prevent it. First, it’s a good idea to limit fluid intake in the hour or two before bed. Also, make sure your child goes to the bathroom both before getting ready for bed and right before going to bed. Also, remember never to punish your child for wetting the bed because there is little he can do about it. You might even want to start a system for rewarding dry nights to provide encouragement.
In some cases, you may be able to work with your child to train the bladder. During the day, if your child has to go to the bathroom, encourage him to wait for awhile so he gets used to the sensation of having a full bladder. Doing this could help prevent bed-wetting in some children.
Moisture alarms are products that are designed to alert your child that she is urinating and then wake her so she can go to the bathroom to finish. These products include a small battery-operated sensor attached to a pad that is sensitive to moisture. When your child starts to urinate, an alarm will sound and she can go to the bathroom. Moisture alarms are available in some drug stores or online. They have proven to be effective to stopping bed-wetting, but it can take weeks or even months to see an improvement.
Several types of prescription medications can help prevent bed-wetting, but doctors will typically not prescribe them in children younger than 7 because it is best to see if the problem will resolve on its own. Desmopressin is drug that boosts certain hormone levels to limit urine production at night. The antidepressant imipramine can change a child’s sleep patterns, making it more likely that he will wake at night to go to the bathroom. A third type of drug, anticholinergics, help increase bladder capacity. Sometimes a combination of these drugs can be used. However, parents should note that drugs are not always effective.