Bedwetting – Causes, Care and Treatment

As a child, wetting the bed wasn’t a major deal as it was a common situation. No one would say that he or she never soiled the bed with urine as an infant, at least up to a certain age. Although most children stopped bedwetting at a very early age while others stopped late. But there are some others that are finding it difficult to stop and are still bedwetting, even as adults.

At the age of 4, most kids stop bedwetting. Although “accidents” can happen once in a while for 6 and 7-year-olds. If by age 7, a child still can’t stay dry, then there might be an underlying issue that needs some attention.

What is bedwetting?

Bedwetting is simply the loss of bladder control which occurs usually during the night. If you want to get technical, it is known as nocturnal enuresis or nighttime incontinence.

Causes of bedwetting

Bedwetting can be caused by certain factors and these factors include:

  • Small bladder size – Some children that wet the bed have smaller bladders than usual. This makes it very easy to wet the bed.
  • Urinary tract infection – A urinary tract infection can make it difficult for an individual to control urination. Signs of infections include red or pink urine, pain during urination, and frequent urination. All these can trigger bedwetting.
  • Slow development of brain-bladder control – This occurs when an individual sleeps very deeply. This means that they don’t react to the signals from their brain telling them that their bladder is full. So instead of waking up, their pelvis relaxes and releases the urine. This control usually develops as the child grows older or with treatment.
  • Constipation – Bedwetting could also be caused by constipation, (Especially in individuals or kids who do not regularly bed wet). When constipation is long term, bedwetting may happen during the night. The rectum is just behind the bladder, when it is full, it can push on it.
  • Producing too much urine during sleep – Bedwetting may occur when the individual’s kidneys make too much urine at night. This urine production is usually slowed down by Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH). So when the brain can’t produce enough of it or when the kidney refuses to respond to it, it becomes an issue.
  • Stress – Any stressful event experienced during the day could be a factor. The individual gets too tired and might have to sleep deep. In the case of kids, it could be because of bullying at school or emotional distress.
  • Genetics – Genetics is a risk factor for bedwetting. A kid is more likely to bed wet if he or she has a parent, sibling, or family member that did. This becomes even more important if both parents struggled with bedwetting.

Care and Treatment

Treating bedwetting requires patience and understanding. As stated earlier, bedwetting can be outgrown on its own. Outside of that, lifestyle changes are usually enough to handle the situation:

  • You can set moisture alarms to enable the individual to wake up in time to go and urinate.
  • You can also limit how much you drink before going to bed. Although it is true that fluids are good for health, but its intake in the evening should be limited.
  • Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages. Caffeine could possibly stimulate the bladder and should be avoided in the evening.
  • Avoid holding urine for too long. Try to visit the toilet as much as you can during the day.
  • Make sure to check often that you are not Constipated.

Medications – Medications may be prescribed by the doctor after home remedies have been tested. Drugs that Slow nighttime urine production works for bedwetting. An example is desmopressin (DDAVP) which boosts levels of the anti-diuretic hormone that forces the body to produce less urine at night. Also, an anticholinergic drug such as oxybutynin (Ditropan XL) may help increase the bladder capacity and also reduce bladder contractions.

Bedwetting can be managed

Bedwetting does not have to be a thorn in your child’s flesh, it can be managed. If lifestyle changes appear to have little or no effect, then you should see a urologist. You should also see your doctor if you just suddenly developed bedwetting as an adult.