Changing the Sheets: Why Does My Child Wet the Bed
Stripping the bed at 3:00am is not a fun task. I won’t lie, sometimes we just throw a towel down and all go back to sleep. But it gets old – FAST. It is frustrating, aggravating, and confusing… WHY is my child randomly wetting the bed? I know that I’ve lost my cool in wee hours of the morning – and I’m sure you can relate, but we cannot blame our children. They are not wetting the bed intentionally. It is not the child’s fault for wetting the bed, and there may not be an obvious cause to why it is happening. I have 5 little ones. They range in ages from 6 months to 8 years old. The oldest three were out of diapers and accident free (even at night) by about 22 months – own their own wanting. But at 3 years old, my second born starting having accidents at night. It drove us absolutely crazy until I talked to our amazing pediatrician who helped us figure out what was going on. Our son had been on a special diet from about 20 months of age that eliminated gluten, dairy, and a laundry list of foods that we learned were hurting his little belly. (We had IgG testing done to learn these foods.) When he turned three, we started reintroducing foods. Of course (because it is horribly amazing) gluten was one of the first items we tried, followed by dairy. We didn’t see any major side effects right away…Then the bed wetting began, without us linking it to food. We finally learned that he can handle a certain amount before his “internal cup” overflows and side effects begin – his biggest one is not being able to hold his bladder overnight. Is Food The Answer For Your Child? Maybe, and maybe not. Our story is what inspired my research on the subject. Want to know what I dug up?
Diet Linked to Bedwetting
“Nocturnal enuresis may be linked to dietary allergies that provoke bladder instability.”According to Dr. Douglas N.Tietjen, M.D., and Douglas A.Husmann, M.D. from the Department of Urology at the Mayo Clinic, all of the patients in the study stopped bed-wetting when they began food-restricted diets, and the wetting re-occurred when the patients resumed regular diets. Wondering if your child’s diet is at fault? Do any of the following also plague him:
- digestive problems
- protruding abdomen (bloated belly)
- skin rashes or hives
- stuffy, runny nose
- dark circles under the eyes
- night sweats
- red ears
- red cheeks
- bumps on the back of the arms
- frequent colds/illnesses
Other Possible Bedwetting CausesEnuresis is the loss of bladder control. Nocturnal Enuresis is known as “bed-wetting,” because it happens during the night while a child is sleeping. Approximately 5 to 7 million children wet the bed, with boys being effected more than girls. It’s important to know that researchers and doctors believe there is more than one underlying cause to bedwetting, but THAT THERE IS AN UNDERLYING CAUSE. You read that correctly. If your toddler or child begins wetting the bed after he had been completely potty-trained, there is something causing it. Most research has proven that bed-wetting isn't caused by drinking too much liquid before bedtime. It's not a psychological problem. It's not because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. According to Research, Possible Causes Include:
- Genetics: Bedwetting tends to run in families
- Overactive Bladder Syndrome: When the muscles that control the bladder spasm and trigger urine to leak out.
- Small Bladder Capacity: A smaller bladder needs to be emptied more, but the child should wake to empty it.
- Medications: Certain medications cause frequent urination or a deeper sleep, meaning the child will not wake up to go to the bathroom.
- Hormones: Low levels of the hormone Vasopressin (which regulates urine production) cause the kidneys to produce too much urine for the bladder to hold - OR not enough antidiuretic hormone; this hormone reduces the amount of urine made by the kidneys.
- Nervous System: The nerves attached to the bladder may not be fully developed. This can cause a weakened signal to the brain causing the child not to wake up.
- Fears: Being scared of the dark or other nighttime fears may keep your child in bed and scared to leave for the bathroom.
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys
- Abnormalities in the spinal cord
- Constipation: If the bowels become blocked, it places pressure on the bladder and triggers bedwetting.
- Stimulating Beverages: sodas, teas, and caffeinated beverages may stimulate an increase in urine.
How to Help
- Do not voice your frustration or place blame on your child. You may cause the problem to get worse.
- Make sure your child uses the bathroom before bed.
- Keep a small potty-training potty next to his bed so he knows he has something close by to use if the bathroom is too far, the hall is too dark, or he’s too tired to walk that far.
- Keep the mattresses protected with waterproof covers. Go one step forward and add another waterproof layer on top of the fitted sheet that can be removed in the middle of the night without having to strip the entire bed.
- Chiropractic Care: Several studies show that manipulating and adjusting the spine can eliminate bedwetting.
- Behavior therapy: A treatment that doesn't use medicine.
- Motivational therapy: positive reinforcement and reward systems to help your child keep track of his progress.
- Behavior conditioning: This therapy uses an alarm. The alarm rings or vibrates when your child first begins to wet the bed. When the alarm goes off, it wakes your child. This gets him or her into the habit of waking up in the night to go to the bathroom.
- One kind of medicine helps the bladder hold more urine
- The other kind helps the kidneys make less urine.
You need to talk to your child’s doctor if bed-wetting occurs with daytime wetting and/or bowel problems. This may be a sign of a more serious problem. References: http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0301/p1219.html http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/11/01/are-hidden-allergies-causing-many-of-your-health-problems.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/09/20/the-tragic-consequences-of-drugging-our-children.aspx http://www.amazon.com/Wet-Stop3-Bedwetting-Enuresis-Vibration-Bedwetters/dp/B0013LRVWA?ie=UTF8&keywords=moisture%20alarm&qid=1465340747&ref_=sr_1_2_a_it&sr=8-2 http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Bedwetting/pages/causes.aspx