Bedwetting: Facts and Fiction

Bedwetting: Facts and Fiction

By Kevin Cleary

The issue of bedwetting is not as black and white of an issue as you may think. It is also possible that it is more common than you may have thought and not reserved for only children. Kids and adults alike suffer from this problem and there are many different ways in which we can tackle this dilemma. In order to tackle this problem properly, one must sort through all the fact and fiction surrounding the issue of bedwetting to ensure that the proper solution is chosen.

Some Children Bedwetting Myths

I’m sure we have all heard some kind of an old wives tale for the reasons bedwetting takes place, but do we fully understand the underlying reasons. In an article for WebMD.com, Denise Mann notes that roughly 5-7 million children aged 6 and above are affected by primary nocturnal enuresis, otherwise known as nighttime bedwetting. The first trap parents must avoid is not to blame the victim. When bedwetting happens in young children, we need to realize that this can be a social issue to some extent. As pediatrician Michael Wasserman M.D. points out, if a three-year-old doesn’t care about wearing a pull up at night then basically don’t make it an issue, but if your six-year-old is worried about being ridiculed by a friend, now it’s a problem. One common bedwetting piece of fiction is that bedwetting is caused by parents doing something incorrect. Nocturnal enuresis often runs in families and is most common in children under the age of 8 who are heavy sleepers. Bedwettinginfo.org identifies punishing children for bedwetting as another wrong approach. This can cause the problem to get worse since, more often than not, this problem will go away on its own. Some other myths including emotional problems and a child’s diet are also untrue and pure fiction. For some, there may be an underlying medical problem. If your child has been dry for a while and suddenly experiences bedwetting a urine test is an option to determine if a urinary tract infection is present or even a sign of Type II diabetes.

Causes of Adult Bedwetting

Children aren’t the only ones affected by the stigma of nighttime bedwetting. Secondary enuresis is nighttime bedwetting in adults and is relatively uncommon and therefore should be evaluated medically. Erik Castle M.D. reports for mayoclinic.org that some of the common causes can include: bladder cancer, diabetes, prostate enlargement, urinary tract infection/stones among other reasons. Side effects from medication can also be a contributing factor. One possible cause for adult bedwetting is caffeine overdose. An article written by Autumn Rivers for healthline.com identifies a caffeine overdose as ingesting more than the recommended amount of caffeine (approximately 200-300 mg per day).

Finding the Correct Solution

Once we get past the myths and untruths, the next step is finding a proper way to handle bedwetting and tackle the problem. The first step in dealing with nocturnal enuresis is ensuring that your child knows that in fact, this is normal. Let your child know that this is in fact relatively common and just about all children will eventually outgrow it. Not only should your bedwetting child understand this, but siblings should also be informed and teasing should not be tolerated. If you feel the need, discussing it with your pediatrician can lead to some helpful hints. As webmd.com states, your pediatrician may recommend that you limit fluids just before bedtime or if your child is old enough (7 years or older and other methods have failed) to try a prescription medication that reduces the amount of urine produced by the body at night. One tool parents can utilize to help with nighttime bedwetting training is an alarm system that senses moisture. The Nite Wet Call Bedwetting Control Device is moisture sensing bed pad that triggers an alarm as moisture touches the pad. This is a reliable way to condition your child to wake up and urinate before a small accident becomes a big one. The Nite Replacement Sensor Pads for Bedwetting Control Device allow for uninterrupted training and success. Another variation of this alarm system is the Koregon DVC Nite Train-R Bedwetting Alarm. Unlike a pad that goes under the covers, this is worn on the body and sets off an alarm when as little as one or two drops of urine contact the sensor and wakes the wearer before their bladder is emptied. Sometimes children can become accustomed to an alarm noise and become desensitized to it. In this instance, the Malem Wireless Bedwetting Alarm System features eight random sounds to combat auditory accommodation and the transmitter can be clipped into any pair of underpants. Another wireless option is the Urocare DRI Eclipse Wireless Bedwetting Alarm which is small in size and designed like a space rocket to appeal to children. It features a nonmetallic sensor that avoids corrosion by urine, minimizes skin irritation, and is easy to clean. Its battery life can be as much as three years and is latex free.

For another layer of protection, use of overnight pull up diapers can help avoid embarrassing accidents and an increased laundry load. The Medline Training Pants Disposable Diapers Pull up Style Underwear feels just like real underwear. They provide heavy absorbency and are available for a variety of children ranging from 20-40 pounds or more. Used in conjunction with other methods this can help your child achieve their goal of a dry night. The Kendall Curity Training Pants are available to children of both genders and have the feel of regular underwear with a super dry core making them ideal for nighttime use. Another option for both boys and girls is the First Quality Cuties Training Pants. These are geared more towards younger children and can help them feel secure overnight while they outgrow their nocturnal enuresis. If your child balks at the idea of wearing a diaper or pull up, one possibility is the use of overnight pads that can be inserted into their own underwear. The Tena Ultimate Overnight Bladder Control Pads provides superior protection when the wearer is laying down, like in bed, and offer an adhesive strip so that they may be worn inside the wearer’s own underwear therefore minimizing any stigma about wearing a diaper. For some older children it’s possible to wear the Salk HealthDri Men’s Heavy Briefs. These have the feel, wear, and care of regular underwear therefore eliminating the embarrassment of diapers while still providing the wearer with protection against overnight moisture and protection from skin irritation.

Since it is relatively common for young children to experience nighttime bedwetting, an increased laundry load may be result. One way to combat this is to use a bed pad, either a washable one or disposable. Some bedpans that can be washed include the ReliaMed Quilted Reusable Underpads or the Medline Maxima Extra Absorbent Reusable Underpads. Both help to protect bedding against nighttime wetting and can be laundered for reuse. For those that opt for a disposable option there are plenty of options to meet just about every need. The Attends Night Preserver Heavy Absorbency Disposable Underpads uses a super absorbent polymer combined with cellulose fibers for heavy absorbency while wicking fluid away from the skin to avoid irritation. Another disposable pad that is ideal for nighttime use is the Kendall Wings Maxima Disposable Underpad. Its super absorbent polymer and odor controlling agent are ideal for controlling incontinence overnight as your child outgrows their primary enuresis. Understanding that most children will face some degree of nighttime bedwetting and that this is actually a normal occurrence can help parents reassure their children that there is nothing wrong or even shameful about it. The key is to use some tools to make this “phase” of childhood pass painlessly and without any stigma.