Bedwetting is something that we shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about, some children just take longer to be dry at night for various reasons. One of our sons has experienced bedwetting when he was younger and after a few weeks of trail and error we realised it was due to him drinking too much right before bedtime.
Today is National Bedwetting Day (24th May 2016) and I’ve had the opportunity to ask one of Lloyds Pharmacy’s expert some questions regarding Bedwetting. I feel it’s important to talk about bedwetting openly with each other and I hope these questions and answers will be helped to some of you.
So here are my Questions and Answers:
1. Why does bedwetting happen?
The cause behind bedwetting is not fully understood. What we do know is that it occurs when there is no conscious awareness during sleep and not because of poor toilet training or laziness. Common causes of bedwetting are:
Excessive urine production due to a lack of the hormone vasopressin
Vasopressin regulates the quantity of urine produced by the body at night – if there isn’t enough, the kidneys continue to produce large amounts that the bladder can’t hold.
An overactive bladder
An overactive bladder can cause children to go to the toilet urgently and frequently.
A full bowel can press against the bladder causing bedwetting.
A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
UTI’s create the feeling of constantly needing the toilet and can cause other bowel related conditions.
2.When does a child start wetting the bed and when does it stop?
In the UK, bedwetting occurs in 15-20% of 5 & 6 year olds and is generally more common in boys than girls. 2-3% of children up to the age of 14 also suffer from bedwetting. Most children will grow out of bedwetting quickly.
3.What can I do to prevent my child from wetting the bed?
How can I minimise the impact this has in the short-term? Use pull-ups at night and pop waterproof sheets on your child’s bed. Other measures you can take to prevent bedwetting include:
- A good, general healthy diet and lifestyle. Why not ask your child how they are feeling? Are they having problems at school? Perhaps they are anxious about the arrival of a new baby brother or sister? An increase in anxiety and stress can be a cause of bedwetting.
- We recommend avoiding fizzy or caffeinated drinks, especially during the evening – these drinks increase the need to urinate.
- A calm bedtime routine. A warm bath or shower followed by reading your child’s favourite bedtime story may help to settle and relax them.
- Changes in light can lead to the release of vasopressin which can cause bedwetting so turn down all the lights and make your child’s bedroom is as dark as possible.
4. Are there any drinks I should avoid giving to my child?
It is important to encourage your child to drink at least 6 glasses of water or water based drinks throughout the day, so that they go to the toilet regularly. It is also recommended you avoid giving your child fizzy or caffeinated drinks like hot chocolate, tea or lemonade, especially in the evening; these drinks may increase the need to urinate during the night.
5.How can I stop my child from feeling upset and embarrassed about wetting the bed?
Most children think they’re the only ones that wet the bed and sometimes parents can blame a child’s bedwetting on laziness, both of which can make children think there is something is wrong with them. We know that this increase in anxiety can cause more bedwetting. The best thing to do is talk about it with your child.
Understand what’s going on, educate your child on why bedwetting happens and that it is not their fault. Encourage them to go to sleepovers and school trips so it doesn’t start to have a wider impact on their development and seek medical advice quickly – especially when concerning older children.
The key is to remain calm and keep positive, it may be frustrating but it’s not their fault.
6.My 6yr old has suddenly started wetting the bed. What should I do?
Lifestyle factors including anxiety and stress can result in bedwetting. It’s important to talk to you child and ask them how they are feeling. Is there something going on at school or are they worried about the arrival of a new baby brother or sister? If the problem persists we recommend seeking medical advice from your GP. It’s never too early to start dealing with bedwetting.
7.At what stage should I seek medical advice?
Bedwetting occurs involuntarily while asleep at an age where bladder control usually occurs, and is considered to be frequent if it occurs two or more times a week. Seek medical advice as soon as you can – the sooner bedwetting is treated the less likely it is to continue. Or pop into your local Lloyds Pharmacy for friendly advice.
If you would like to know more about bedwetting you can visit Lloyds Pharmacy’s information page here where you’ll find two short animations featuring Bedtime Buddy Norman who will help your child over come bedwetting.
Do you have any tips for helping a child who’s experiencing bedwetting? I’d love for you to share your hints and tips with us.