That young children cannot hold their urine at night and sleep with a diaper is not unusual. However, when they reach the age of 5-6, they are expected to be out of the diaper and stay dry all night. If your child still urinates in bed at the age of 6, you should see a doctor who can advise you on what is best for your child. Bedwetting is often due to physiological reasons, which can be treated. If your child is a bedwetter, however, you may need a great deal of patience to help your child stop bedwetting. As the child is growing older, the problem seems even bigger.
How many children are bedwetters?More children suffer from bedwetting than you might think: 20 % of children over 6 years urinate in bed at night (6-10 % of all 7-year-olds). Bedwetting is hereditary, but luckily, most children outgrow the problem on their own before they turn teenagers. As bedwetting is hereditary, it may be very helpful for the child to know that other family members also used to be bedwetters and (hopefully) have overcome the problem. If one of the parents was a bedwetter, there is a 50 % chance that the child will be a bedwetter too.
Why is my child a bedwetter?The most common causes of bedwetting are:
- Lack of the hormone ADH (antidiuretic hormone)
- The bladder is too small
Normally, a full bladder sends a signal to the brain which wakes up the child. If your child is a bedwetter, it will not wake up from that signal, and for most children, the lack of the antidiuretic hormone causes the problem. For a normal bladder, the amount of ADH increases at night, meaning that less liquid is transferred from the kidney to the bladder, and the urge to urinate is thus reduced. When the child lacks the increasing amount of the ADH hormone during the night, the body creates more urine than the bladder can hold, and then accidents occur.
Without treatment, most children will outgrow the bedwetting before the age of 15. However, it will go faster if the problem is treated.
Both for the family – and especially for the child – it is worth the effort to solve the problem before the child turns a teenager.
How can my child stay dry at night?If your child is a bedwetter at the age of 6-7, you should take your child to a doctor to make sure that your child does not have any kidney diseases. If kidney diseases are out of question, you can treat bedwetting with an alarm and/or hormones. Talk to your doctor so he/she can advise you on what is best for your child. If your child suffers from daytime incontinence too, it is very important to focus on that problem first as it is difficult to keep your child dry at night if it suffers from daytime incontinence as well. Besides limiting the child’s liquid intake before bedtime, some parents also take their child to the toilet before going to bed. That does not necessarily solve the problem, but it can limit the accidents. If you are ready to make an effort to solve your child’s bedwetting problem, there are 2 ways of doing it:
- With medicine
- With an alarm
Or with a combination of both.
Help your child stop bedwetting – with medicineYou can give your child an artificially created hormone which reduces the production of urine. The effective substance is called Desmopressin, and the medicament is mostly called Minirin. The medicine is given to the child as an orally disintegrating tablet, every night before bedtime. The tablet is placed under the tongue where it dissolves and works the same night. To avoid too much liquid in the body, the child must not drink more than half a glass of water during the night after the tablet is taken. Desmopressin is a safe medicine with very few side effects, which appear from the patient information leaflet. However, possible side effects can be headache or tiredness. Medicine treatment is particularly suitable for children with a normal bladder size and a large urine production at night. The exact amount of medicine is agreed with your doctor. The treatment lasts for 3 months where your child then takes a break from the medicine to find out whether the problem has been solved, or if the child should continue the medicine treatment or try something else.
Help your child stop bedwetting – with a bedwetting alarmIf your child has turned 7-8, it can be helpful to make an active effort to help your child stop bedwetting with a bedwetting alarm. It is very important that your child is mature enough and ready to solve the problem in order to succeed. When you start treating bedwetting with an alarm, you must be aware that it may take a couple of weeks before you see any progress. Surveys suggest that a child can hold much more urine in its bladder after a successful alarm treatment
Before starting the alarm treatment, it is very important that the child and its parents are motivated. Then use the alarm every night for a period. If you do not try to solve the child’s bedwetting problem, there is a 15 % chance that the problem is solved on its own. If the alarm treatment is not successful, it is recommended to wait approx. 6 months and try again.
Is your child a bedwetter? Help yourself to an easier lifeHaving a bedwetting child can cause much frustration, bad sleep for the child and its parents – and a lot of laundry. Besides using a bedwetting alarm and medicine to treat the problem, you can also use absorbing mini sheets to put on top of the regular sheet. An absorbing sheet quickly absorbs the urine and protects the mattress at the same time. As the absorbing sheet does not cover the entire bed but only the area where the urine leaks, the sheet can be removed easily and quickly so that the family can go back to sleep.
Situations where the child is going camping or sleeping at a friend’s house can be very worrying – both for the parents and for the bedwetting child. Because how can the child get through such situations without being teased and without urine accidents being noticed? Fortunately, night incontinence pants can minimise the problems with bedwetting. The pants can absorb 350-600 ml and are waterproof, meaning that accidents will not be noticed.
Definition of bedwetting among children:
- more than one night of bedwetting a week
- the child is over 5 years old
CHILDREN AND INCONTINENCE, FACTS:
The bladder of a 6-year-old child can hold 150-200 ml of urine
A child must drink 1-1.5 litres of liquid a day
See Pjamas alarm system here