An experienced Child Development expert, Dr Cathrine is available to answer your questions about bedwetting and your child.
As embarrassing and frustrating as this may seem you are not alone. There are thousands of people, including teenagers and adults, who wet the bed at night while they are asleep. This is not conscious wetting and therefore in no way your fault. There are a number of reasons why bed wetting may continue into adulthood. You do not mention in your question whether this is something recent or you have been experiencing this over a number of years. A sudden onset of bedwetting after years of being dry may be an indictor of some underlying medical condition or it may result from stress or anxiety so it is essential that you have this checked by your doctor. Given your age and the frequency of your wetting, it is unlikely that this will stop on its own accord. Please use the time with your doctor to discuss the possibility of introducing a conditioning alarm and these experience the best outcomes with respect to treatment options.
What you describe in your question may be deliberate wetting or it may be in response to an uncontrolled bladder. This is quite unusual, although not unheard of. On the rare occasion nighttime or daytime wetting may be a cry for attention. This may be in response to a stressful situation such as school bullying, family breakdown or environmental stress. I would encourage you to make an appointment for her to been seen by her GP.The first step is to determine whether her wetting is the result of an underlying medical issue or is a psychological response.
The difference between Pull-Ups and DryNites is that Pull-Ups are specifically designed for toilet training and daytime use. They have a built-in wetness liner that allows the children to feel when they are wet, which is why your son would be developing eczema as they urine is staying next to his skin rather than being drawn away. DryNites are specifically designed for nighttime use and offer a high level of absorbancy, drawing the urine away form children’s skin in much the same way as a Huggies nappy does. You will find the DryNites while offering a similar level of absorbency to the Huggies napies are more appropriate for bedwetting as they are designed for use by older children and appear more like an underpant than nappy.
You are experiencing what is commonly referred to as secondary nocturnal enuresis. This term is used to describe the condition where an individual begins to wet the bed after experiencing a significant period of nighttime continence. There are a number of possible causes some of which are medical so it is very important that you make an appointment with your GP. Secondary bedwetting can also result from stress, which can occur when we experience a significant change in our lives such as starting a new job or shifting responsibilities in the workplace - which may explain why this began when you started working in the wash bay at work. I would recommend discussing this with your GP. If stress is a contributing factor, it is not unusual for your bedwetting to stop when you are feeling more at ease or whatever is causing the stress is resolved. All the best!
Dear Nicola, it is perfectly normal for your daughter to still be wetting the bed at night with at least 1 in 7 6-year-olds continuing to wet the bed on a regular basis. The most common cause of nighttime wetting is a neurological-developmental delay. Young children whose nervous systems are still forming may not be able to know when their bladder is full. Consequently, they do not wake up in time to go to the toilet. Other children wet the bed because they produce double the amount of urine overnight, while others may do so due to a small bladder capacity. The most important thing to recognize about bedwetting is that it is uncontrolled – that is, children wet when they are asleep, which is why things like punishment or incentives have little effect. The majority of children your daughter's age will outgrow bedwetting on their own without the need for treatment. You can encourage a healthy bladder by making sure she drinks plenty of water throughout the day, eats lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and limits fizzy drinks – particularly before bedtime. While treatment is not typically recommended until children reach the age of 7 years, if bedwetting impacts on children’s emotional wellbeing or has reached a point where you're struggling to cope then it is time to consider treatment options. The first step is to consult with your local GP – they will most likely run some tests first to ensure there is no underlying physical cause following this she can start on a treatment program. All the best!
As frustrating as this may be please be reassured that this is perfectly normal. As children move toward achieving permanent nighttime continence it is common for them to waiver between periods of dryness then return to wetting again. It is not unusual for children to start wetting again at times of sickness or if they become overtired as this makes it more difficult for them to wake in response to a full bladder. I am a little puzzled however as to why this is only occurring when she is wearing underpants? Is your pre-bed routine any different on the nights she wears underpants? The decision of whether or not to return to using DryNites is really up to you. Why there has been some debate surrounding the use of absorbent pants – there really is no convincing research to show that these prolong the bedwetting process.
It is not unusual for children with developmental delays to develop nighttime continence somewhat later than the usual age range. The majority of these children do outgrow this on their own. However given how disrupted his sleep has become, the sooner we find a solution the better! Recent research points to the absence of ADH (antidiuretic hormone) as a cause of nighttime wetting/output - children without ADH produce four times the amount of urine as those who have the hormone and are therefore at a greater likelihood of ‘overfilling’ their bladder at night. In general, we find that children stop wetting at night when their bodies become better able at storing the urine overnight. If you are at all concerned about his bladder capacity you can have this checked by his GP. This is usually done by having your son drink, and then measuring his urine output when he says he needs to go to the toilet. Given his age and the fact that he needs to empty his bladder and bowels so frequently, I would recommend following this up with his GP. Some children who experience encopresis (uncontrolled soiling) may benefit from restricting certain foods from their diet. There are a number of ways you can try and determine whether food intolerances are contributing to his nighttime bladder/bowel habits. The easiest (and safest) approach would be to visit a Naturopath. They may recommend you begin an elimination diet, removing all foods from his diet that could be affecting his bedwetting, then you carefully reintroduce the foods, one at a time. It is always important to remember, each child is unique and what works for one does not necessarily work for all. All the best!
Regards, Dr Cathrine
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