Bed-wetting is the term loosely used when children who at a specific age are expected to have mastered nighttime bladder control urinates involuntarily while asleep. It is medically known as nocturnal enuresis or nighttime incontinence.
Bed-wetting in general is part of a child’s development and most times is simply a result of your child’s immaturity and not a condition that you should worry too much about unless your child is older than 7 years and the bed-wetting is accompanied by other symptoms, in which case you should consult a physician.
Most children below 7 years that have been potty trained still wet their beds on several occasions, as they have not been able to fully master bladder control. Bladder control is not as straight forward as we think and there’s really no target date for developing complete bladder control.. It involves coordinated action of the muscles, nerves, spinal cord and brain. With time, understanding and practice, your little one will be a master of bladder control.
What causes bed-wetting?
No one knows for certain what causes bed-wetting but several factors have been known to play a role in making bladder control difficult in some children. Some experts claim there are 2 main causes of bed-wetting. They state that most children who wet the bed are deep sleepers and therefore don’t respond to a full bladder, and also that children whose bodies do not produce adequate amounts of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) wet their beds. This hormone is said to be responsible for slowing down urination at night.
Some other factors have been associated with bed-wetting. They include:
- Sleep apnea. Sometimes bed-wetting is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the child’s breathing is interrupted during sleep — often due to inflamed or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Other signs and symptoms may include snoring and daytime drowsiness.
- Diabetes. In some children who have previously mastered bladder control, bed-wetting may be a sign of something more serious like diabetes.
- A small bladder. If the size of the bladder is not developed enough to hold urine produced at night.
- Constipation. As the same muscles are responsible for stooling and urinating, when constipated for a long time, the muscles get dysfunctional and contribute to bed-wetting.
- Urinary tract infection. when this happens, the child is not able to control urination.
Some points to note:
- Studies have shown that bed-wetting is twice more common in boys than in girls, and also that stress, anxiety, change of environment and family history can contribute to nighttime urination in children.
- Consult your doctor if your child continues to bed-wet after age 7 or if your child experiences painful urination. Above all, remember that bed-wetting without a physical cause doesn’t pose any health risks., so be patient with your little one and offer support during this period.
- Do not beat up your child when an accident occurs, it solves nothing but dampens your child’s spirit and that child insecure.