Local Pediatrician Offers Advice for Dealing with Bedwetting
Bedwetting is an issue for millions of families every night. It can affect kids into their teenage years. The National Sleep Foundation reports that approximately 20% of 5-year-olds, 13% of 6-year-olds, and 5% of 10- year-olds will still wet the bed regularly.
“Bedwetting is a natural part of development, and kids usually outgrow it,” says Dr. Andrea Kane, a pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group in Bloomington and Normal. “Most of the time, it is not a sign of any deeper medical or emotional/behavioral problem.”
However, she adds, bedwetting can be very stressful for families. For kids, it can be embarrassing, guilt ridden, and can affect their self esteem.
So, how does one cope with bedwetting? Dr. Kane offers five tips:
1. Reassure your child that it is a normal part of growing up that won’t last forever.
2. Remind your child to go to the bathroom regularly throughout the day and one final time prior to bedtime.
3. Try to have your child drink more fluids during the morning and early afternoon hours and less at night. Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks.
4. Use a motivational system for dry nights and offer praise as well.
5. Bedwetting alarms, available in many retail stores and online, can be helpful to train your child to arouse overnight.
“When your child does wet, don’t yell or punish him, but have him help change the sheets as part of the clean-up process,” says Dr. Kane.
When to call the doctor?
Call your child’s doctor if bedwetting starts suddenly after being consistently dry for at least six months, Dr. Kane advises. Also, call if she begins to wet her pants during the day as well; if he snores at night, complains of pain or burning with urination; urinates frequently (more than 8 times daily); has urinary hesitancy or straining to urinate; has a weak or dribbling stream; is drinking or eating more than usual, has swelling of feet or ankles, or is still wetting by age 7. “Let your doctor know if your child is experiencing a lot of stress or if you are feeling very frustrated. Your doctor may check for signs of urinary tract infection, constipation, bladder problems, diabetes, and/or severe stress.” Occasionally, a medication called Desmopressin may be prescribed.
Ultimately, Dr. Kane says, “Management should begin when both parents and child are motivated to work toward the long term treatment and resolution.”