The sight of damp sheets, wet pajamas and an embarrassed child lurking in the hallway is a familiar scene in many homes. For many parents patience runs thin after a while. From comforting to admonishing the child, where nothing seems to work, Homeopathy is known to do wonders. Bed-wetting isn’t a sign of toilet training gone bad. It’s often just a normal part of a child’s development.
Bed-wetting, also called nighttime incontinence or nocturnal enuresis, is involuntary urination while asleep after the age at which staying dry at night can be reasonably expected. Most kids outgrow bed-wetting on their own and are fully toilet trained by age 5, but there’s really no target date for developing complete bladder control. Between the ages of 5 and 7, your child may still be developing nighttime bladder control.
While a large majority of children have no underlying disease that explains their bedwetting, in about 1% of children who routinely wet the bed, an underlying disease is identified. Well, that doesn’t mean that the child who wets the bed can control it or is doing it on purpose. We must also know that they are not lazy, willful, or disobedient either. Bedwetting is most often a developmental issue. It’s a problem that needs to be tackled with patience and understanding.
Although frustrating, bed-wetting without a physical cause doesn’t pose any health risks. However, it can create some issues for your child like guilt and embarrassment, which can lead to low self-esteem; loss of opportunities for social activities such as sleepovers and camps; rashes on the child’s bottom and genital area — especially if your child sleeps in wet underpants.
You need to see a doctor if:
- Your child still wets the bed after age 7
- Your child starts to wet the bed after a few months or more of being dry at night
- Bed-wetting is accompanied by painful urination, unusual thirst, pink or red urine, hard stools, or snoring
No one knows for sure what causes bed-wetting but various factors may play a role:
- A small bladder that may not be developed enough to hold urine produced during the night.
- Inability to recognize a full bladder if the nerves that control the bladder are slow to mature. (Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal in some kids!) Consequently, a full bladder may not wake your child especially if your child is a deep sleeper.
- A hormone imbalance during childhood, causing some kids to not produce enough anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), that slows nighttime urine production.
- Stressful events such as becoming a big brother or sister, starting a new school, or sleeping away from home may trigger bed-wetting.
- The child has poor daytime toilet habits. Many children habitually ignore the urge to urinate and put off urinating as long as they possibly can. Parents usually are familiar with the leg crossing, face straining, squirming, squatting, and groin holding that children do to hold back urine.
- A urinary tract infection can make it difficult for your child to control urination and may lead to bed-wetting, daytime accidents, frequent urination, red or pink urine, and pain during urination.
- Sometimes bed-wetting is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the child’s breathing is interrupted during sleep — often due to inflamed or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In such cases it may be accompanied with snoring, frequent ear and sinus infections, sore throat, or daytime drowsiness.
- For a child who’s usually dry at night, bed-wetting may be the first sign of diabetes. Other signs and symptoms may include passing large amounts of urine at once, increased thirst, fatigue and weight loss in spite of a good appetite.
- Same muscles are used to control urine and stool elimination. So if your child is suffering from chronic constipation, these muscles can become dysfunctional and contribute to bed-wetting at night.
- A child with a worm infestation esp threadworms may get vulnerable.
- Children who are being physically or sexually abused sometimes begin to wet the bed.
- Rarely, bed-wetting is related to a structural defect in the child’s neurological system or urinary tract.
- Being male. Yes it’s true! Bed-wetting can affect anyone, but it’s twice as common in boys as girls.
- If one or both of a child’s parents wet the bed as children, their child has a significant chance of wetting the bed too.
- Bed-wetting is more common in children who have Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Your child will need a physical examination and depending on the circumstances, your doctor may also recommend urine tests to check for signs of an infection or diabetes, X-rays or other imaging tests for the kidneys or bladder if the doctor suspects a structural problem with your child’s urinary tract or another health concern and certain other types of tests.
Most children outgrow bed-wetting on their own. If there’s a family history of bed-wetting, your child will probably stop bed-wetting around the age the parent started waking up dry.
If found, underlying causes of bed-wetting, such as constipation or sleep apnea, should be addressed before other treatment.
If your grade schooler is terrified about wetting the bed during a sleepover, he or she may need additional tips. The child’s and parents’ motivation can impact the selection of treatment and its success.
- Limit how much your child drinks in the evening as urine output is directly proportional to the fluid intake. It’s important to get enough fluids though, so encourage your child to focus on drinking liquids in the morning and early afternoon.
- Avoid giving them beverages and foods with caffeine esp in the evening since they act as diuretics.
- Encourage double voiding before bed once at the beginning of the bedtime routine and then again just before falling asleep. Remind your child that it’s OK to use the toilet during the night if needed. Use small night lights, so your child can easily find the way between the bedroom and bathroom.
- Moisture Alarms can be of help in some cases. These small, battery-operated devices, available without a prescription at most pharmacies/online, connect to a moisture-sensitive pad on your child’s pajamas or bedding. When the pad senses wetness, the alarm goes off.
- Encourage regular toilet use throughout the day and evening.
- If constipation is a problem with your child, introduce more roughage in his food.
- Cover your child’s mattress with a plastic cover. Use thick, absorbent underwear at night to help contain the urine. Keep extra bedding and pajamas handy. However, avoid the long-term use of diapers or disposable pull-up underwear.
- Bed-wetting is involuntary, so it doesn’t make sense to punish or tease your child for wetting the bed or reward him or her for staying dry. Instead, praise your child for following the bedtime routine.
- To prevent a rash caused by wet underpants, help your child rinse his or her bottom and genital area every morning. Local application of homoeopathic ointments like Calendula and Echinacea are very effective cure for them.
Conventional medicine has drugs to boosts levels of the natural hormone (ADH) that forces the body to make less urine at night, and drugs that may calm the bladder by reducing bladder contractions thus increasing bladder capacity in children with small bladders. But they come with their own set of side effects like low sodium levels and possible seizures besides providing only temporary relief.
Homeopathy has been found to be very successful in treating bedwetting. It aims to strengthen the nervous system of the body. Medicines like Causticum, Kreosote, Cina, Acid Phos, Equisetum, Sepia and the likes, allow the child to gain control over the urinary bladder. The same child who had been urinating in bed for years is able to keep the bed dry within a matter of a couple of weeks.
Children don’t wet the bed to irritate their parents. Scolding a child for the same might prove counterproductive. Try to be patient as you and your child work through the problem together. If the child is stressed or anxious, encourage him or her to express those feelings. With reassurance, support and understanding they will feel calm and secure and bed-wetting will become a thing of the past.