Dealing with Bed-Wetting for Older Kids
Sure, changing wet sheets on an already hectic weekday morning might be a hassle for you, but it's likely a huge source of shame for your school-aged child. Most children have complete bladder control by about age 5, but for some, wetting the bed is an issue well into later childhood. In fact, about 20 percent of 7-year-olds have never been consistently dry at night. Kids who wet the bed on a regular basis have what experts call primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE).
Pediatric urologists say that PNE has a strong genetic link, so if you have a nighttime bed-wetter, chances are that either you or your spouse once suffered the same problem. Of course, there are other causes too, such as excessive fluid intake, an abnormally positioned ureter, and urinary tract infections.
When it comes to treating PNE, some experts suggest that you can wait it out. By age 10, only 4 percent of kids are still experiencing PNE. (Of 18-year-olds, 1 to 2 percent regularly wet the bed.) But generally, you should consult your doctor about treatment.
The doctor will take a detailed medical history of your child, consider food and fluid intake, do a physical exam, and may order tests such as an MRI or ultrasound. The doctor may recommend behavior modification (such as restricting fluids and periodically waking your child in the night), alarm therapy (during which an alarm that is worn inside the child's underpants rings or vibrates the instant it gets wet), medication, or even surgery.
Children who wet the bed occasionally, after six months of being dry, have secondary nocturnal enuresis (SNE) which is often linked to stress, such as moving or the start of a new school year. Rarely, either form of enuresis is linked to a medical condition such as diabetes, bladder or kidney infections, epilepsy, or sleep apnea. Experts claim it?s very important for parents to remember that both occasional and frequent bed-wetting are major sources of anxiety for children and kids should never be punished for wetting the bed.