why do some children wet the bed
The reasons why nighttime accidents occur may surprise you! If youÁre the parent of a bedwetter, youÁre likely all too familiar with orchestrating middle-of-the-night
changes and dragging heaping loads of soggy sheets to the laundry machine. You ve also probably wondered more than once whether the nighttime accidents will ever end. The good news: Odds are, they will! While15 percent of children wet the bed at age five, less than five percent will still be having accidents by ages eight to 11. (In rare cases, bedwetting can continue into the teen years and adulthood, and if it does, that s a signal to talk to a doctor, because it could by a symptom of an underlying medical condition. ) Twice as many boys wet the bed as girls, and bedwetting is more common among (ADHD), though researchers aren t sure why. You canÁt predict when your child will gain control of his bladder, but knowing why bedwetting (the medical term is enuresis) occurs can help you gain perspective on the issue. Reason #1: You Used to Wet the Bed. Strange but true: Nighttime accidents are hereditary. In fact, 75 percent of kids who wet the bed have a parent or another first-degree relative who did the same as a child. ThereÁs no changing your childÁs genes, so the best thing that you can do is calmly let your tot know that you also used to have accidents, and that itÁs something that almost always goes away over time. This will help her understand that she is not to blame for the wet sheets. Reason #2: Your Child Has a Small Bladder. Simply put, your totÁs still-maturing bladder may not be able to contain the urine that is produced throughout the night.
And if your childÁs brain isnÁt recognizing his bladderÁs ÁIÁm fullÁ signal quite yet (this nerve connection can take some time to develop, too), itÁs likely that an accident will occur. Reason #3: Your Kid is Constipated. Your childÁs bowelsÁnot bladderÁmay actually be to blame for bedwetting. ThatÁs because stool can push against the bladder, reducing the amount of liquid it can hold. Even though your child is potty trained at this age, try to keep an eye on his bathroom habits. If you suspect that constipation might be an issue, talk to your kid s pediatrician. Reason #4: Your Youngster Sleeps Deeply. If your tot is sleeping soundly, she may not wake up when her bladder is full. To reduce accidents, have your little one cut back on fluids before and make sure that a trip to the potty is part of her. Remember, your child isnÁt wetting the bed on purpose or because he is too lazy to make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Being supportive, calm, and patient throughout the process while rewarding dry nights (with a sticker, for example) will help get you both through the bedwetting days. Five million American children go to sleep every night not knowing if their bed will be wet or dry in the morning. However, because bedwetting is one of those ÁhiddenÁ problems of childhood, most children (and some parents) think they are the only ones with the problem. I sympathize with kids who wet the bed because itÁs hard to deal with something that occurs when youÁre sleeping.
Even more frustrating is the fact that children donÁt know if itÁs going to happen. Although some wet the bed every night, most do it less often. Because parents are often uninformed about the nature of bedwetting, some children are punished for being wet at night. Parents should always remember two facts about bedwetting. First, it is a medical problem. Second, no one wets the bed on purpose. Bedwetting is divided in two groups. Primary bedwetting refers to children who have never been consistently dry at night. Secondary bedwetting refers to children who were dry for at least six months before they started wetting again. Because nighttime wetting is common in young children, most doctors donÁt diagnosis a child as being a bedwetter until he reaches age 6. Bedwetting is hardly ever caused by a serious medical problem. In most cases, it is due to a maturational delay in the way the brain and bladder communicate with each other at night. There are four main factors that contribute to the problem. Bladder size. Children who wet the bed usually have bladders that are smaller than their peers. This causes them to urinate more frequently during the day and their bladder has less room to ÁholdÁ urine at night. Nighttime urine production. The brain produces a hormone at night that reduces the amount of urine the kidneys make. Some children who wet the bed produce less of this hormone and thereby produce more urine while they sleep. ÁDeepÁ sleep. Some children have difficulty waking up at night in response to internal or external stimuli.
As a result, the brain may not respond when the bladder signals that the child needs to urinate. Constipation. Because the rectum is located behind the bladder, constipation can interfere with bladder emptying or the way the bladder signals the brain that a child needs to go. This can lead to both daytime and nighttime wetting episodes. Although behavioral techniques may help, the most effective treatment for bedwetting is a product called the bedwetting alarm. Most bedwetting alarms are small, battery-operated devices that children wear to bed at night. The device teaches the childÁs brain to pay attention to his bladder while heÁs sleeping. Bedwetting alarms have two basic parts: (1) a wetness sensor that detects urine and (2) an alarm unit that produces a loud sound when a child wets the bed. So what can you do if your child wets the bed? Well, the first thing to do is to let your doctor know whatÁs going on. It was recently discovered that most parents do not raise the issue at checkups either because they donÁt think the doctor can help or they are afraid it will embarrass their child. Also, many doctors donÁt ask if bedwetting is a problem because they figure parents would tell them if it were. Trust me, weÁre listening. Bennett is a pediatrician in Washington, DC. The second edition of his book, was published in May 2015. You can find out more about bedwetting at Dr. BÁs website:. á You can find more parenting coverage and sign up. Like for more essays, advice and news. You might also be interested in:
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