Bedwetting can be distressing for both children and parents. Understanding what the possible causes might be will help to reassure both parents and children that it’s a common issue, no one is to blame and, most importantly, that it’s out of a child’s control. Here are some reasons for bedwetting in the older child…
- Family history – if one parent had history of bedwetting as a child, there is around a 40% chance that their child will too. If both parents wet the bed, the odds can rise to around 70%.
- Missed signals – for some children the connection between the brain and the bladder to signal it is full has not yet been developed.
- Small bladder capacity – some children have a smaller than average bladder capacity.
- Lack of hormones – some children do not produce a high enough level of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), produced at night to slow down the production of urine by the kidneys so we don’t have to wake up to urinate.
- Constipation – the constipated bowel literally “leans” on the bladder and causes the bladder to empty before it is full.
- Urine Infection – if having a wee is causing your child pain or if they are passing urine much more frequently than usual, talk to your doctor.
- Caffeine – it is a scientific fact that caffeine stimulates the bladder to produce more urine
- Individual/Specific intolerances/irritants – everyone is very different but it is worth keeping a food/drink diary to make sure that a specific food or drink isn’t causing the bedwetting. Some have argued that spicy foods or citrus foods and fruit juices cause bedwetting whereas a personal friend found that all juice, diluted or pure and especially blackcurrant juice caused bedwetting in her older child.
So what should we do to help with bedwetting.
- Rule out any medical reasons – take the child to the doctor if you suspect urinary tract infection or constipation.
- Rewards – use this if it works for your child but not if it appears to make him feel inadequate or disappointed, if he “fails”.
- Offer support, understanding and encouragement – make sure he knows he is not to blame!
- Increase bladder capacity – give your child plenty to drink during the day (medically proven).
- Limit caffeine intake late afternoon and evening – Give tea, cola, energy drinks, chocolate/hot chocolate/chocolate ice-cream/brownies etc. early in the day only.
- Take head to the findings of your food/drink diary – Limit foods that cause problems for your child, either to earlier in the day or if this is still a problem then cut them out of your child’s diet altogether.
- Double bubble – make the bed using plastic protection and sheet then plastic protection and sheet, so the child can get himself a fresh bed in the nighttime. Remember to leave fresh underwear and pyjamas too.
- Alarm system – wearing an alarm at night which sounds on feeling wetness.
Above all else remember that most children grow out of bedwetting all by themselves, so hang in there!!