Most children begin to stay dry at night around three years of age. When a child has a problem with bedwetting (enuresis) after that age, parents may become concerned.
Physicians stress that enuresis is not a disease but a symptom–and a fairly common one. Occasional accidents may occur, particularly when the child is ill. Here are some facts parents should know about bedwetting:
- Approximately 15 percent of children wet the bed after the age of three.
- Many more boys than girls wet their beds.
- Bedwetting may run in families.
- Usually bedwetting stops by puberty.
Persistent bedwetting beyond the age of three or four rarely signals a kidney or bladder problem. Bedwetting may sometimes be related to a sleep disorder. In most cases it is due to the development of the child’s bladder control being slower than normal. Bedwetting may be the result of the child’s tensions and emotions that require attention.
There are a variety of emotional reasons for bedwetting. For example, when a young child begins bedwetting after several months or years of dryness during the night, this may reflect new fears of insecurities. This may follow an event which makes the child feel insecure–moving to a new town, the loss of a family member, or, especially, the arrival of a new baby
in the home. Sometimes bedwetting occurs after a period of dryness because the child’s original toilet training was too stressful.
Parents should remember that children rarely wet on purpose, and usually feel ashamed about the incident. Rather than make the child feel naughty or ashamed, parents need to encourage the child and show faith that he or she will soon be able to enjoy staying dry at night. A pediatrician’s advice is often very helpful.
In rare instances, the problem of bedwetting cannot be resolved by the parents, the family physician or the pediatrician. Sometimes the child may also show symptoms of emotional problems–such as persistent sadness or irritability, or a change in eating or sleeping habits. In these cases, parents may want to talk with a child and adolescent psychiatrist, who will evaluate physical and emotional problems that may be causing the bedwetting, and will work with the child and parents to resolve these problems.
a. Physical trauma and/or psychological stress.
b. Food sensitivity.
c. Bladder atonicity.
d. Pituitary/hypothalamus dysfunction.
g. Genital urinary tract infection (less than 5 percent of cases reported).
f. Pelvic imbalance (occurs frequently).
g. Adrenal hypo-function.
a. Eliminate all dairy products and gluten containing grains (sensitivity to dairy products and wheat is very common).
b. Sip 1 mouthful of distilled water every 30 minutes while awake until about 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.
c. Eliminate all refined carbohydrate and hydrogenated fats and oils. Increase raw and fresh oils.
d. Increase raw vegetables and protein.
Primary Nutrients: (for children under 10 years of age)
1. BIO-MULTI PLUS Iron Free – 1 tablet, 3 times daily after meals..
2. BIO-C PLUS 1000 – 1/2 tablet, 3 times daily after meals.
3. M S M POWDER – 1/4 teaspoonful 2 to 4 times daily depending on the severity of symptoms. NOTE: Always take MSM with your Vitamin C.
4. BIOMEGA-3 – 3 capsules, once daily after a meal.
Specific Nutrients: When symptoms or condition begins to subside, gradually, as needed, wean yourself from the Specific Nutrients & stay on the Primary Nutrients. If any symptoms re-occur resume taking Specific Nutrients.
5. CYTOZYME PT/HPT – 1 tablet, 3 times daily with each meal for 1 bottle.
6. CYTOZYME-AD – 1 tablet, 3 times daily with meals.
American Institute of Preventive Medicine
(excerpted from Healthy Self: The Guide to Self-Care and Wise Consumerism)
Wetting the bed is not only uncomfortable, it is embarrassing, especially for a child older than 3 years. And that’s not all. Afraid of waking up in a soaked bed, children who wet their beds may avoid going to pajama parties, friends’ houses or summer camp.
Three out of four toddlers stay dry all night by age 3-1/2. By age 5 years, one in five still wets the bed and at age 6, the numbers drop to one in ten. Just about all bed-wetting stops by the time children reach puberty. Boys are more likely to wet their beds than girls. Bed-wetting may start again during stressful times.
No one really knows what causes enuresis, the medical term for bed-wetting. From the 1930s through the 1960s, it was commonly believed that children who wet their beds had psychological problems. Today, it is suspected that bed-wetting may be caused by slow development of the nerves that control the bladder.
Even a small bladder unable to hold the urine produced during the night can result in bed-wetting. Bed-wetting can be a symptom of an serious illness such as diabetes or a urinary tract infection, especially if it starts in a child who has previously been dry through the night.
Your patience and love will go a long way to help a child who wets the bed. Children have no control over this condition; they don’t wet the bed on purpose. Making them feel guilty, getting angry or acting disgusted will only delay solving this problem. Try to be understanding and supportive.
Psychologists recommend that you simply wait it out. Don’t praise them for a dry bed nor punish them when it’s wet. To help make life easier for your child and yourself, consider the following:
* Have your child change the bed as well as his or her bed clothes during the night, if he or she is able to do so. Or, keep a flannel-covered rubber sheet nearby so your child can put it over the wet sheets.
* Set an alarm clock two to three hours after your child falls asleep so he or she can be awakened to go to the bathroom.
* Make sure your child urinates before getting into bed.
* Encourage your child to follow instructions, if any, that the doctor suggests such as bladder-stretching or stream-interruption exercises, or behavior modification devices.
* Obtain a bed-wetting alarm. (This is best suited for children 5 years and older). Modern enuresis alarms have moisture sensors that attach directly on the underwear. At the first drop of liquid, a buzzer sounds, waking up the child. Eventually, kids learn to wake up whenever they feel the urge to urinate. Newer models of these alarms can help prevent wet beds about 85 to 90 percent of the time.
Bed wetting alarms and information can be obtained from:
* Nite Train’r Alarm: Koregon Enterprises, 9735 S.W. Sunshine Court, Beaverton, OR 97005, or call 800-544-4240.
* Nytone Alarm: Nytone Medical Products, 2424 South 900 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84119, or call 801-973-4090.
* Wet-Stop Alarm: Palco Laboratories, 8030 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062, or call 800-346-4488.
Also, check with local home medical supply companies and local pharmacies that carry or can provide home medical equipment.
Questions to Ask
Does your child drink an excessive amount of fluids, urinate more than usual during the day and night and/or show other signs such as fatigue, increased appetite and weight gain and itching around the genitals?
Does your child have a fever, abdominal pain or burning when urinating?
Is your child older than 6 years and never been dry at night or has he or she been dry at night for an extended time and is now wetting again?