Ultimate Bedwetting Guide

If you have gone through bed-wetting issues with your child, you are not alone!!! While my daughter Lily never had any big challenges with this, my son needed a lot more support to finally stay dry through the night. While it can be difficult for a parent and embarrassing for your child, it is possible to work through!

Just how much of a problem is this?

It can be a comfort just to know that bedwetting is actually fairly common, although the likelihood of it drops as a child ages.  It is estimated that 20% of 5 year olds, 10% of 7 year olds and even 5% of 10 year olds can struggle to stay dry all through the night.  It does tend to affect boys more than girls, but girls can struggle with it, too. 

What can cause bedwetting?

One of the things that can make bedwetting difficult is that there are quite a few things that cause it or make it worse.  

 

Possible causes of bedwetting can include:

  • An underdeveloped or immature bladder
  • Sleeping too heavily 
  • Constipation 
  • Drinking too late in the evening or consumption of things that cause bladder irritation (more on this soon!)
  • Stress/anxiety

 

However, there are other medical conditions that can lead to bedwetting as well and those will be discussed in just a bit!

How can you treat bedwetting?

There are a number of ways to help your child with this problem, depending on what is causing it.   

 

Some of the most common treatments include:

  • Reducing fluid intake 1-2 hours before bedtime. In other words, no big glasses of milk (or water or juice) right before turning out the lights!
  • Avoiding things that can irritate the bladder, such as caffeine (the most frequent culprit), artificial food colorings, and acidic foods/drinks like lemonade. 
  • Having your child go to the bathroom just before bedtime
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene (which can include going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, putting away electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime and getting enough sleep)

When should you see the doctor?

While bedwetting is usually treatable with some of the techniques mentioned above, there are times when it is better to go to the doctor in case there are other medical issues that are causing the problem.  You should consider making an appointment if your child:

  • Was dry through the night when they were younger but has regressed to bedwetting
  • Has painful urination or urine that is cloudy, discolored or has a strong smell
  • Is also having any kind of bowel issues as well, including issues like constipation 
  • Seems to be really thirsty even if they are drinking enough fluids
  • Is having sleep problems other than the bedwetting

 

Often, if there is an underlying medical reason for the bedwetting, this problem can be improved if the condition is treated.

 

I think the most important thing here is to remember that this is a pretty common problem with young children and that generally, there is nothing to worry about and it is a normal part of growing up..  However, if you think that there might be a bigger medical problem which might be causing the bedwetting, it is definitely good to consider an appointment with your child’s doctor.  Many times, though, just making changes in your child’s life like drinking less before bedtime can make a big difference! 

 

Sources

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/tips-for-overcoming-bed-wetting

 

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-help-your-child-stop-wetting-the-bed-2

 

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep/bedwetting

 

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