Vol. 5 Num 994 Sun. March 18, 2007  
Star Health

Tips to prevent bedwetting

Medical term for bed wetting is enuresis. All over he world , kids wet bed and it is quite a common phenomenon.

Bed wetting beyond the age where bladder controlled should have been established is called enuresis. Children are not identified enuretic unless the symptoms persists beyond the age of five years.

It usually occurs at night (nocturnal enuresis) but can also occur during day time. Day time enuresis is rare and usually implies a more serious problem.

Bed wetting can cause real problem like loss of self esteem and other psychological distress for the child and the family.

What causes bed wetting
Some of the important causes are

1. Genetic factor
2. Difficulties waking up from sleep, when the bladder is full
3. Slower than normal development of the central nervous system that reduces the child’s ability to stop the bladder from emptying at night
4. Hormonal factors
5. Urinary tract infection
6. Abnormalities in urethral valves or in ureter
7. Abnormalities in the spinal cord
8. Inability to hold urine for long time because of small bladder

Bed wetting not caused by drinking too much water before bed time. Its not a mental or behavior problem. It does not happen because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Children do not wet bed on purpose or to irritate their parents.

When do most children achieve bladder control
Children achieve bladder control at different ages. By the age of 5 years, most children no longer urinate in their sleep. Bed wetting up to the age of 5 years is not unusual, even though it may be frustrating to the parents. Treating a child for bed wetting before the age of 5 years is not necessary and may even be harmful to the child.

What can be done for these children
Please do not punish your child for wetting the bed, it will not help.

There are many different treatment options. Your child’s doctor can help you decide which would be best for your child. Here are some tips

1. Be patient

2. If an adult in your family used to wet the bed, have them talk to your child about it. Then your child will not feel so alone or ashamed

3. Respect your child’s privacy and do not talk about the bed wetting in front of others

4. Have your child change their trousers and the wet bed cover themselves. Just have them do it in matter of fact, taking responsibility for themselves, not as a punishment

5. Reward them if they are dry at night

6. Have your child go to bathroom to empty the bladder right before bed time

7. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep

8. Restrict fluids after dinner- but make sure your child drinks very well through out the day.

9. Wake your child up in the middle of the night, a little earlier then they usually wet the bed

10. You can try a bed wetting alarm

11. As a last resort your doctor may prescribe some drugs

The writer is an Associate Professor of Department of Pediatrics in Community Based Medical College, Mymensingh. [E mail:]