Your child and primary enuresis
Bedwetting or primary enuresis (PNE) is a concern to many parents. In many cases, a child who has this issue is denied some treats in the hope that he/she is cured. Some parents out of frustration may resort to punishing the child. Being nicknamed a bed wetter is not a joke for a child who knows that, if it were within his power, his bed would remain dry.
According to this information which is credited to the American Sleep Association, bedwetting is a common problem that parents continually try to solve, but are still at a loss about what to do.
Although many parents would attribute bedwetting to a child’s having to sleep very deeply, the Association says that deep sleep claim is yet to proved, noting that although there is a link between children who wet their beds and those who spend more time in the deeper stages of sleep, but that bedwetting can occur at any time during the night.
According to them, the problem is more common in younger children. The prevalence is approximately13 to 16 per cent in five to six year-olds. The incident, they noted, wears off as the affected children become older such that about seven to 10 per cent of children between the ages of seven to eight years may be bed-wetters. At the age of 10 years, the percentage of children who have PNE may have gone down to just five percent.
In teenagers, the occurrence is reported to be as low as one to three per cent.
Facts Of The Matter
Bedwetting is more common in boys than girls. It is highly genetic, these experts say, which means that bedwetting is an inheritance passed on from parent to child. A child has up to 40 per cent chances of wetting the bed if one parent had it. The likelihood goes up to 75 per cent if both parents wet the bed as children.
But the child is not blame, they said, noting that it is not his fault because he is not in control.
Punishing the child would not solve the problem, they posited, as they advised that it would run its course right about the time the mother, father or whoever had that problem stopped making the bed wet as a child.
Many experts agree that children as young as five years can go through the treatment for enuresis. The number one remedy is the reduction of the drinks given to the child after dinner. Children should be reminded to use the toilet before going to bed. When they make the bed wet, ask them to take part in cleaning up the bed. When they do the work, the task involved in changing and even washing make them to think that using the toilet is much easier instead of relieving themselves on their beds.
The above process may be added to the use of medication and other treatments available for children of about seven to eight years.
However, the ASA warned that while treatment may sometimes involve the use of medication, drugs should be used with care. Medicines have potential side effects and limited long term benefits, they warned, adding that it should be reserved for special occasions like camping or a sleep-over at a friend’s house.
Also available for treatment of bedwetting is the bedwetting alarm, which they said was the most effective remedy when a child is willing to fight the problem. The bed-wetting sensor is attached to the child’s underwear while the alarm is fastened to the child’s pajama top.
When the sensor gets wet, the alarm goes off. When the alarm sounds, the child is encouraged to hold the urine in an attempt to finish the toilet. With time, the brain learns to associate the contraction of the bladder with the alarm and the result is that the brain will contract the sphincter before wetting occurs.
It has been noticed that once they used the alarm, children often want to continue the use because they see improvement within two weeks. The best result reported was that children who have used the alarm continuously for three months were dry for 21 days consecutively.
Teenagers can use the alarm without aid but a younger child may need to be shown how to use it by a parent at the initial stage. The success rate is said to be up to 80 percent cure rate with regular use.
But a parent should take it seriously when there are issues like neurological signs such as weakness, numbness and bowel incontinence. Call the doctor also when there are signs of infection accompanying the bed wetting like fever or burning sensation with urination.
Call the doctor when a child has a period of dryness for up to six months but then starts to wet the bed again.
Some experts are, however, against the use of any form of treatment which includes the alarm, medication and rewarding the child for having dry nights. Their belief is that, not only do these not work, but they also put undue pressure on the child. The best approach, they say, is to use the oldest available method-wait out, put a plastic mattress pad on the bed; avoid giving drinks that contain caffeine or fluids before bed.
But make sure that the child knows that it is not his fault that he makes his bed wet while he sleeps and assure him that he will grow out of it.
It might help, also, to remember that you did it too-that is assuming that you wet the bed as a child. It may also be worthwhile to ask daddy if he did or had a sibling who did. It will help to remember the age the person stopped.