Wetting the bed, or nocturnal enuresis, can be as upsetting for parents as it is for children. You will no doubt wonder what is causing the bed wetting, and how you can help your child.
It may be of some comfort to know that wetting the bed is very common and majority of children will grow out of it. Generally, bed wetting can be categorised as primary nocturnal enuresis or secondary nocturnal enuresis
Five reasons for primary Nocturnal Enuresis
Bladder VS Brain – The bladder and brain have not yet developed that harmonious relationship where the brain responds to the signal that the bladder is full.
Family History – Bed wetting can be genetic. Chances are that if one parent experienced nocturnal enuresis, their child is more likely to have the same experience.
Hormones – When you settle down to sleep, your pituitary glands release an anti diuretic hormone which slows the production of urine so your sleep is not disrupted by the need to urinate. Some children go through a stage where too little of this hormone is produced.
Small Functioning Bladder Capacity – Some children have small daytime bladder capacity, when they finally fall into a deep sleep, their bladder will empty of its own accord when reaching that same small daytime volume.
Habitual – Poor daytime toilet habits. Quite often children ignore the urge to urinate and hold off as long as they possibly can. They then have trouble recognising the urgency signals going from bladder to brain, at night time.
Five reasons for secondary Nocturnal Enuresis
Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis can suggest underlying health concerns
- Urinary tract Infection - Resulting in bladder irritation that causes a stronger and more frequent urge to urinate. Quite uncomfortable, but luckily – easily treatable.
- Diabetes – Type 1 diabetes means a high level of sugar in the blood.
- Emotional – Stress can trigger bed wetting.Things like starting school, moving house or the birth of a sibling can easily bring on feelings of stress and uncertainty in children.
- Neurological – Abnormalities in the nervous system can upset the delicate neurological balance that manages urination resulting in nocturnal enuresis
- Pinworm infection – usually characterised by intense itching of the anal/genital area.
Five tips for managing bed wetting
Bed wetting can be an emotional experience for anyone - big or small.
It is important to remain cool, calm and collected during the bed wetting stage. In the hope of making the entire process a little easier on your child and you, here are a few tricks to help with managing bed wetting.
- Consume fluid regularly throughout the day and taper off in the evenings
- Ensuring bladder and bowel are empty before bed
- Using plastic under sheets to protect the mattress
- Look into a bed wetting alarm
- Use DryNites pyjama pants
In cases where secondary bed wetting persists or becomes unmanageable, it is advisable to seek a medical opinion.
Last but not least remember to provide love and support. A little bit of positive reinforcement and praise goes a long way.