Today is World Bedwetting Day with the theme ‘Time to Take Action’ designed to raise awareness of bedwetting.
Bedwetting is one of the most common medical conditions in childhood. It is considered a medical problem from a child’s 5th birthday. Some children do grow out of it, but without treatment bedwetting can continue into adolescence and beyond. Children who are wet most nights are the ones who are least likely to get better without treatment.
There is lots of information about bedwetting on the internet, but not all of it is up-to-date or reliable. However, websites such as Bladder & Bowel UK and Stop Bedwetting have useful and relevant information produced by healthcare professionals who are used to working with children and young people in the UK who wet the bed.
Bedwetting is caused by different problems
These include either producing too much wee when asleep, or having a bladder that is not holding the wee well enough. All children who wet the bed also have a problem waking up to the bladder signals (otherwise they would wake and go to the toilet).
The right treatment for a child or young person is the one that is most likely to treat the cause of the problem. If they have a problem both with the amount of wee they produce and their ability to store it properly they may need more than one treatment at the same time. Not all treatments are right for everyone, so assessment is important and your healthcare professional should discuss options with you.
The main options for treatment are:
- A medicine called desmopressin – that works by helping the kidneys to make less wee at night, so the bladder can hold onto what is made. This is safe and is effective for children and young people who are wetting because they make too much wee at night
- An alarm (also known as an enuresis alarm). These work by making a noise as soon as the child or young person starts to wee. Many children and young people need help to learn to wake to the alarm, but they work well for those whose bladders are not holding enough wee, or who are struggling to wake up to the bladder signals
- Medicine that helps the bladder to hold on better. This works well for children and young people whose bladders get ‘twitchy’ while they are filling. Many, but not all, of these children and young people have to get to the toilet quickly in the day and may get some damp pants if they cannot get to the toilet quickly enough.
Your healthcare professional should be able to provide more information and advice about bedwetting and discuss the right treatment for you and your child, or refer you to a special clinic.
There is more information on the following websites:
Bladder & Bowel UK also have a confidential helpline at email: email@example.com or telephone 0161 214 4591