As the child reaches the appropriate age to get rid of diapers, most mothers think they have been relieved of a heavy burden. However, many children go through periods where they face Urinary Incontinence or what most may call Bedwetting in children.
Parents may then ask questions like, does involuntary urination have anything to do with mental illness? What causes the child to urinate involuntarily during the day? What causes children to wet bed? And other questions. Therefore, we see it as important to clarify some facts such as the causes of the child urinating on themselves during the day or bedwetting and how to deal with it.
When is bedwetting abnormal in children?
Urinary incontinence (also called nocturnal enuresis) is a common problem in childhood. Children learn to control urination during the day when they realize their bladder is full. Once this happens, they learn to consciously control their bladder and coordinate it. This generally happens at the age of four. Control of the bladder during the night usually takes longer until the child is between the ages of five and seven. The number of children who wet their bed varies by age. At the age of five, 16% of children suffer from Urinary incontinence at night. The ratio begins to decrease as the child progresses in age.
For most children, involuntary urination goes away on its own without treatment. However, caregivers and children may be concerned about Urinary incontinence because it is embarrassing and uncomfortable. Some caregivers may also be concerned about underlying medical problems.
Causes of Bedwetting in Children
There are various reasons why a child might wet the bed. Causes include:
- The child’s bladder matures more slowly than usual, making it difficult to control.
- The child may not feel the need to pee while sleeping.
- The child’s bladder contains less urine than usual, which sometimes causes urine leakage without the child’s awareness.
- Genetic factors, parents who suffered from enuresis as children are more likely to have children who suffer from enuresis.
- Low levels of vasopressin (a hormone that reduces urine production).
- Deep sleep prevents the child from feeling their bladder filling (this theory is controversial, as it is one of the causes of a child urinating on themselves at night, but does not explain other cases such as a child urinating on themselves in the winter or during the day).
Also Read: Psychological Development Of A Child
Does Frequent Bedwetting in Children Indicate Diabetes?
Bedwetting in children is rarely due to a health, psychological, or emotional problem. Most children who wet their beds do not have an underlying medical problem. Although there are medical problems that may contribute to Urinary Incontinence, such as diabetes, urinary tract inflammation, fecal contamination (encopresis), pinworms, kidney failure, seizures, and sleep problems (such as sleep apnea), most cases of involuntary urination are temporary symptoms that disappear gradually without the need for medical intervention. Therefore, we can’t infer diabetes or other diseases through involuntary urination alone.
How do you know if a child is abnormal? Diagnosing Urinary Incontinence
Most parents look for treatment for nocturnal enuresis and begin searching for a suitable doctor, with some wondering who is the specialist doctor in treating involuntary urination. While their child may not need medical intervention in the first place. As we mentioned, many children go through a stage of enuresis or nocturnal urination and overcome it without therapeutic intervention. However, some may worry if the child’s involuntary urination period increases or depending on the child’s age; for example, parents of a child who wets themselves at the age of four or five may not worry, while other parents may worry if their child suffers from involuntary urination at the age of three.
For most children, Urinary Incontinence is associated with several easily observable factors, including:
- Daytime urination problems
- Long periods of dryness
- Family history of Urinary Incontinence
- Whether the child snores
- Family problems and the child being exposed to psychological or nervous pressure
- Taking certain medications if the child has any disease
- The child’s physical condition in terms of activity, movement, mental state, and interaction with peers and friends.
It is helpful to keep daily notes over 24 hours on how much the child drinks and how much urine they pass. This includes recording the time and amount of fluids your child drinks, as well as the number of times they urinate, including the amount of urine if possible. Involuntary urination may occur during the day for some children, not just at night or during sleep, as some parents may think. Therefore, monitoring the child’s condition and the rate of fluids they drink and the rate of urination during the day is one of the best ways to detect enuresis and treat it quickly before it affects the child’s psyche.
Treatment of Bladder Control Problems & Bedwetting in Children
How do I treat Urinary Incontinence in Children? Many parents ask this question to find out how they can deal with their bedwetting kids, as treating Urinary Incontinence may start with changing the child’s daily habits, encouraging words, or trying to monitor the child and wake them up to urinate when needed, among other solutions. According to the Ministry of Health, there is something parents should do to treat involuntary urination in children, and there are things they should avoid as well. Here are some examples:
Treatment Of Urinary Incontinence in Children:
- Divide the fluids your child consumes during the day so that 40% are in the morning, 40% in the afternoon to evening, and only 20% at night, and avoid providing sugary or caffeinated drinks to the child at night.
- Remind the child every night to get up from bed and use the toilet when they need to urinate, especially just before bedtime.
- Help the child easily locate the toilet by using night lights in the bathroom and hallway.
- Stop using diapers, training pants, or pull-ups at home because they may prevent the child from wanting to get out of bed, especially if the child is older than eight years.
- Protect the child’s mattress with a waterproof sheet to avoid the smell of urine.
- Ask the child to help clean the bed in the morning, including removing and washing bed sheets. Also, make sure the child takes a daily bath to avoid the smell of urine on their skin.
- Do not bother the child or punish them for involuntary urination, and do not allow their siblings or anyone else to tease them so as not to negatively affect their psyche and worsen the problem.
It is important to consider how ready and able your child is to participate in the process. The child should be appropriately motivated to overcome this problem easily.