Part of everyone’s childhood experience is waking up in the morning drenched in pee. Children, generally, don’t find any problem with that. It is also an accepted part of parenthood, as changing diapers or underwear seems to be part of the “How to Be a Parent” checklist. Bed wetting usually lasts until the age of six for girls, and age seven, for boys. There are cases when bed wetting goes beyond that time frame. When the kid hits adolescence and adulthood, however, and he or she still wets the bed, then it should be a cause of concern for the individual involved for, if nothing else, self-esteem and social reasons. Secondary bed wetting (or when a child or adult reverts back to bed wetting after staying dry for several months) can be caused by either emotional stress or a bladder infection. Whatever the case, a consultation with a professional is often advised.
Normally, a child develops the ability to stay dry as he or she grows older. When the child hits one to two years of age, the bladder becomes larger and he or she begins to sense bladder fullness. Children who are two to three years old begin to stay dry during the day; at ages four to five years old, they develop a sense of urinary control and will mostly stay dry during the night and all throughout their lives.
There are two physical functions the human body develops that prevent bed wetting. One is the hormone that reduces urine production during the night-time. The hormone, released in minute bursts at about sunset every day, is called the antidiuretic hormone and it reduces the urine output of the kidney while sleeping so the bladder doesn’t get full until morning. The hormone is not inherently present at birth. The hormonal cycle is only developed between the ages of two to six years old – some later, and some, not at all.
The second development is the ability of the person to wake up when the bladder is full. Like the hormonal cycle, this, too, develops at roughly the same age range, but is separate from the hormones.
Sometimes, the ability to stay dry during the night-time is just delayed for some people, but it should disappear when they go past the five- or six-year-old age mark. If they do not, there are some things that can be done to get rid of bed wetting. Note that some of these steps can also be applicable to adults.
Subject your child to bladder training. Bladder training enables your child to improve his or her control over the urge to urinate. It also increases the amount of urine the bladder can hold as well as lengthens the time the child needs in between bathroom breaks. For example, once a day or so, you can ask your child to hold his or her urine for a couple more minutes whenever the need to pee is felt. Whenever the wait becomes easier for that certain time period, it can be increased until the peeing interval becomes roughly three to four hours. When the urge comes before the scheduled time is up, try relaxation techniques. Ask them to breath in and out slowly, and concentrate on the breathing until the feeling goes away.
You can also set your child’s bathroom breaks on schedule. Set up a schedule for when they go to the bathroom, whether they feel the urge to pee or not. The schedule can then be altered until you both find one that works best for the child.
Remember that bladder training can take several weeks, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any immediate results.
Use bed wetting alarms. A bed wetting alarm is an electronic device that is used to treat bed wetting in children. When the wearer urinates, the alarm sounds. Essentially, the process can be used to help children condition themselves should their bladders become full.
Bed wetting alarms come in different styles. They can be wearable, pad-type or even wireless. However, they all employ the same functions; they each have a moisture sensor and an alarm. Whenever the child begins to urinate, this is picked up by the sensor, causing the alarm to go off.
The first, the wearable alarms, have the sensor in or under the child’s underwear or pajamas. The moisture will be detected almost immediately and triggers the alarm, which is usually placed on the child’s arm.
The second type is the pad-type alarm. The moisture sensor is not attached in any way to the child. Instead, the child sleeps on top of it; the sensor is in the form of a sleeping pad or mat. The pad detects moisture when the child leaks urine on it. The alarm, which is connected to the pad with a cord and usually sits on the bedside stand, requires a larger amount of urine before the moisture is detected by the sensor.
The third type is called the wireless alarm. As the name suggests, the alarm and the sensor communicate via wireless technology. The transmitter, which also serves as the moisture sensor, is directly attached to the child’s pajamas or underwear. The alarm unit is placed on a part of the child’s room that is a bit far. In this way, the child has to wake up to turn off the alarm.
Limit the intake of caffeine. Coffee, colas and any other beverage that contain caffeine is a diuretic. A diuretic is any drug or substance that elevates the body’s rate of urine excretion. There are several classes or categories of diuretics; although each class has a distinct way of doing it, they all increase the excretion of water from the body. Not having any caffeinated drinks several hours before bedtime will help lessen bed wetting during sleep.
While you’re at it, limit the amount of liquid consumed an hour or two before bedtime.
Take medications to control or eliminate bed wetting. Desmopressin is a synthetic drug that is used to replace the antidiuretic hormone. Desmopressin comes in a number of trade names, among them DDAVP, Minirin and Stimate. Desmopressin can be taken nasally, orally or intravenously, although United States drug regulators have banned the nasal introduction of Desmopressin. The drug works by limiting the amount of water that is eliminated when a person urinates.
Bed wetting can be an embarrassing problem, especially for an adult. However, careful checking of diet, proper medications and, most times, will and control, are almost always enough to stem the issue. Just remember that if the problem still seems to persist or it comes with pain or any other abnormal reaction, have it checked by a physician. The problem could be a symptom of a more severe, underlying disease.
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