SPECIAL NEEDS – COPING WITH BEDWETTING
What is bedwetting?
Bedwetting, also called nocturnal enuresis, is a very common phase for over half a million children in Australia every night. In fact, up to 1 in 4 four year olds and 15% of five year olds experience bedwetting, with it being slightly more common in boys than in girls.
Night time wetting is involuntary. It’s not something children can control, so it’s not their fault at all. The condition is often dependent on the maturation of a child’s nervous system and bladder. When you need to go to the toilet, the bladder sends signals to the brain to wake up because it’s full and needs emptying. But, for children who wet at night, there is often a ‘disconnect’ or delay in processing this information.
There are two different types of nocturnal enuresis:
The most common form is called primary nocturnal enuresis. This refers to when a child has never been dry at night. Common causes are things like genetics, a neurological development delay between the bladder and brain, or the underproduction of the antidiuretic hormone ADH that signals to the kidneys to produce less urine at night.
Secondary enuresis is the other type, which refers to a child who has been dry for six months or more, and then starts to wet the bed. It’s often caused by more psychological or emotional factors. Stress can play a major role in secondary bedwetting. A significant change in your child’s routine like moving house, starting school or the birth of a new sibling are common causes of stress among young children.
Night time wetting is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about – it’s a normal phase that most children outgrow, and will typically resolvie itself with time – in fact 15% of children stop wetting the bed every year without treatment.
In the meantime, your love, support and products such as DryNites® Pyjama Pants or BedMats can help your child to take control of the situation and regain their independence, allowing them to get a restful night’s sleep and wake up dry.
Preparing for bedwetting incidents:
Australia has government schemes to help parents and carers of children with special needs to buy incontinence aids, as they may need to use disposable absorbent underwear like DryNites, for a longer time. If you need more advice and support, speak to your family doctor.