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Tips & Advice: Bedwetting in Children
Bedwetting in Children
Every child accomplishes the potty-training milestone at his own pace, and most have daytime toileting under control by age 5. Nighttime wetting, however, sometimes persists past this age; in fact, an estimated 5 to 7 million American children experience it. For many children, bedwetting doesn't have a specific cause. For others, the condition can be developmental, genetic, or structural.
The best thing for concerned parents to do is contact their child's healthcare provider. Through physical examination and discussion, possible causes can be either ruled out or identified and a plan can be determined. Keep track of the accidents' frequency, volume, and any apparent patterns—the more information you can offer your healthcare provider, the better he or she will be able to treat the problem.
Nighttime incontinence can be embarrassing and stressful for both kids and parents. While working with your child's healthcare provider to determine the cause of the problem (if there is one), using protective products such as washable underpads, a waterproof mattress protector, and incontinence underwear can help you make the situation more manageable. Once your child is ready to take the next step, a bedwetting alarm will help cure the problem.
Treatment Approaches for Bedwetting in Children
Bedwetting is something that most children outgrow. As the body develops, bladder capacity increases and muscles strengthen, allowing for better bladder control. Also, as children's sleep becomes less deep, their sensitivity to the messages sent by the bladder heightens. The problem of nighttime wetting persists in many children, however, and the two basic approaches to treating it are supportive and curative.
Supportive treatment for bedwetting buys time until the child stops wetting on his own. These include waterproof pants and bedding, lifting, restricting nighttime fluids, motivational techniques, and medications. Lifting involves the parent walking their child to the bathroom to urinate in the toilet. Medications are used to decrease the production of urine during the night but are beneficial only on the night that they're taken.
Curative treatment involves using a specially designed bedwetting alarm to detect moisture from the child's underwear. The child and parents are alerted that wetting is occurring, at which point the child should wake up and go to the bathroom. Over time, he develops the ability to do this before the wetting occurs.
Until the family is ready treat bedwetting, it's a good idea to use products that make the problem easier on everyone, such as disposable or washable underpads, vinyl covers, and mattress pads.