Bed-wetting which is also known as nighttime incontinence is the involuntary urination while being asleep after a certain age. This is a normal part of a child’s development. Bed-wetting before the age 7 is not considered a concern. During this age, your child might be developing nighttime bladder control. If the bed-wetting continues, then this a problem which should be understood by the parents, lifestyle changes, moisture alarms, bladder training which can help to reduce the bed-wetting.
There are no sure causes of bed-wetting but there are various factors which play a role:
- Disability to recognize a full bladder: When the nerves which control the bladder are slow to mature, a full bladder may not wake your child, if your child is in deep sleep.
- Urinary tract infection: This infection makes it difficult for the child to control their urination. The signs and symptoms can include bed-wetting, frequent urination, pain while urination, daytime accidents, pink urine.
- Diabetes: If your child is usually dry at night, bed-wetting might be a sign of diabetes. Other signs include large amounts of urine at once, increase in thirst, weight loss in spite of a good appetite.
- Chronic constipation: The muscles are used to control stool elimination. When the constipation is long term, these muscles could become dysfunctional and it contributes to bed-wetting during the night.
- Sleep apnea: Sometimes the bed-wetting can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition in which the child’s breathing is disturbed during the sleep which is often due to enlarged tonsils. Other symptoms include daytime drowsiness and snoring.
- A small bladder: Your child bladder might not be developed to hold the urine which is produced at night.
It depends on the circumstances, the doctor will recommend the following things to the cause of bed-wetting and it helps to determine the treatment:
- Knowing of symptoms, family history, bladder habits, fluid intake which are associated with bed-wetting
- Urine tests to check for the infections
- Imaging tests or X-rays of the kidneys or bladder to check urinary tract
- Physical exam
Most children, outgrow bed-wetting on their own. If the treatment is required, it will be based on the options with the doctor which will work best for you. You could try lifestyle changes like avoiding coffee and limiting the intake of fluid at night works well. If lifestyle changes don’t help then you can look for other treatments. Other options for treating bed-wetting include medication and moisture alarms.
- Moisture alarms
They are available without the prescription at many pharmacies which helps to connect to a moisture-sensitive pad on your child’s bedding. If you use a moisture alarm, then give it some time. It will take some months to see the effect or any type of response to get dry nights. Moisture alarms can be effective for many children and they carry a low risk of any side effects and they can provide better solutions than medication.
The doctor may also prescribe medications for a short time to stop the bed-wetting process. These medications can:
- Calm the bladder: If your child has a small bladder, oxybutynin can help to reduce the bladder contractions and it can increase bladder capacity, in case daytime wetting also occurs. The drug is used along with the other medications and is recommended when other treatments have failed.
- Slow urine production: DDAVP reduces the formation of urine at night, but drinking plenty of liquid with the medication can cause some problems. You should be careful while using this drug, you must follow all the instructions given by the doctor. Desmopressin is given as a tablet and is for children who are over 5 years of age.
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes
Here are the changes which you can make at home:
- Limit the intake of fluids in the evening: It’s necessary to enough liquids, so there is no need to limit how much your child drinks in a day. You can encourage drinking liquids in the morning and in the afternoon but not during the night.
- Avoid coffee and foods with caffeine: Beverages which contain caffeine should be discouraged for children for the whole day. Caffeine can stimulate the bladder which is even worse during the evening.
- Double voiding before going to bed: Double voiding here means urinating at the beginning of bedtime and then again before going to sleep. Ask your child to urinate before going to sleep if needed.
- Support the use of toilet throughout the day: During the evening and day, ask your child to urinate every two hours or to avoid the feeling of urgency.
So, these were the causes and treatment of bed-wetting, this can be treated with the medication or by making some small lifestyle changes. One should not delay the treatment as this can lead to many problems.