Children under the age of 5 or 6 aren't treated for bedwetting because they generally outgrow the problem.
Here are some strategies for parents to help children who are wetting the bed:
- Realize that bedwetting is fairly common up to age 5 to 6.
- Keep a matter-of-fact attitude and convey that this is nothing out of the ordinary.
- Don't blame the child; offer support and encouragement instead.
- Point out that bedwetting is common, that it can be corrected, and that there's nothing to feel guilty about.
- Don't get angry when your child wets the bed, because this can cause the child to give up trying to stop bedwetting, or can lead to emotional problems.
- Don't give lots of fluid or caffeine (like chocolate or cola beverages) to children before bedtime.
- Give most of the child’s daily fluid in the morning and early afternoon (40% in the morning, 40% in the early afternoon, and 20% in the evening). Restricting all fluids in the evening may prevent children from getting enough hydration.
- Encourage your child to urinate before going to bed (up to 4–7 times in the evening and before bed).
- Make sure your child has easy access to the toilet, and encourage them to get up and go to the toilet if they feel the urge to urinate during the night.
- Keep a night light on in the bathroom so children can change their clothes or go to the washroom.
- Keep a calendar of wet and dry nights – this will help you to determine what works and what doesn't.
Actively treating bedwetting may be helpful if a child's relationships or school performance are being significantly affected. Treatment may involve bedwetting alarms or medications.
A bedwetting alarm is triggered when the child passes the first few drops of urine and wakes him or her up. Alarms become effective for most children after they have been used for 12 weeks. Alarms are most effective for children over 7 or 8 years of age. For alarm treatment to be successful, the child must be motivated and the parents must be willing to have their sleep interrupted. In some cases, the child may not be woken up by the alarm during the first few weeks, and parents must wake the child.
Medications are another option for bedwetting. Children 5 years old and older may take desmopressin,* a medication that decreases the amount of urine the body makes, but this won't stop bedwetting completely. Special care should be made to avoid drinking fluids one hour before and eight hours after taking this medication. Side effects include sinus congestion, runny nose, headache, and abdominal pain.
Another option is a medication called imipramine, which is also available for children older than 6 years. Imipramine belongs to the class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It works immediately to prevent bedwetting. Side effects such as changes to sleep patterns, headache, and appetite changes may occur. Like all medications, imipramine needs to be safely stored away from children between doses.
If there are family problems (psychiatric or emotional) affecting either the child or another member of the family, these may also be root causes of bedwetting and need attention. Otherwise, the bedwetting can lead to life-long emotional and psychological distress.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Bedwetting