A report recently released in the Canadian Medical Association Journal states that bed-wetting is not within the child's control, that the problem is physical. The report lists three of the most common reasons and possible treatments.
Researcher and associate professor of paediatric urology out of the University of Alberta, Dr. Darcie Kiddoo, believes a vast majority of bed-wetting cases can be linked to one of three physical conditions: an excessive production of urine during the night, an over-active bladder or a condition which may make it harder for the child to wake to the sensations of needing to urinate.
What it all comes down to is that, despite what most parents believe about bed-wetting, it is not the fault of the child.
Kiddoo tells WebMD, "Kids are not able to control it. There is something else going on. We want to make sure we're not making children feel bad."
In the report released last week, Kiddoo wrote, "The most critical aspect of treatment is reassurance for the child, who may experience low self-esteem."
"Parents must understand that, unlike daytime behaviour, nighttime incontinence is not within the child's control," she adds.
The report states that approximately 6 percent of boys and nearly 3 percent of girls in the U.S., ages 8 to 11, have problems with bed-wetting.
One of the first steps to quelling the embarrassing episodes is to rule out any dominant stressors that could have been a trigger, reports boston.com. Bed-wetting after a divorce or the arrival of a new baby happens with some children, especially those who have had no previous incidents.
Boston.com also reports that paediatricians should "also check for constipation, spinal malformations, daytime urinary incontinence, or urinary tract infections."
Speaking with WebMD, Kiddoo says, "If it is just nighttime bedwetting, it is not medically serious...but parents should also be aware of the impact on kids. We don't want to minimize how it's impacting their quality of life." If the condition is simply nocturnal enuresis of unknown cause, there are treatments available.
Bed alarms have proved to be most affective, with studies finding 66 percent of children who used a bed alarm for 10 consecutive weeks staying dry for 14 consecutive days, with children staying dry even after the use of bed alarms has ceased, reports Science Codex.
Lifestyle changes, such as drinking less before bed and reducing caffeine, and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy could also be used, though there is little support from research to suggest that this is an effective method, reported WebMD.
In some extreme cases, medication can be used as treatment. Desmopressin, a medication to reduce the amount of urine produced can be used. Tricyclic antidepressant, an older form of an antidepressant, is rarely chosen by parents, though it can be effective, states Science Codex.
For a certain percentage of children, taking no action could be all that is needed. Dr. Kiddoo writes in the report that approximately 15 percent of children each year stop wetting the bed on their own, simply by outgrowing the condition.