The Hamilton Spectator - - GO -

Dear Mayo Clinic: My son is 8 and wets the bed a few times each week. We have tried a va­ri­ety of things to help pre­vent it from hap­pen­ing, in­clud­ing stop­ping bev­er­ages two hours be­fore bed­time and us­ing a mat­tress pad with a bed­wet­ting alarm. Should we take him to see a spe­cial­ist? Don’t kids usu­ally out­grow bed­wet­ting by this age?

A: Bed­wet­ting is com­mon in chil­dren your son’s age, es­pe­cially boys. Most of those chil­dren out­grow bed­wet­ting with­out any med­i­cal care by the time they reach ado­les­cence. If he’s not hav­ing any other uri­nary as­so­ci­ated prob­lems, such as ac­ci­dents dur­ing the day or uri­nary tract in­fec­tions, it’s not nec­es­sary to take your son to see a doc­tor. If you no­tice other med­i­cal prob­lems that could be con­nected to the bed­wet­ting, how­ever, then an ap­point­ment with your son’s pri­mary health care provider would be a good idea.

Toi­let train­ing is a com­pli­cated process. The se­quence of events that must hap­pen in both the brain and the blad­der, and the con­nec­tion be­tween the two, for a child’s body to reg­u­late blad­der func­tion ef­fec­tively dur­ing the day and at night can take sev­eral years.

Many chil­dren have no trou­ble stay­ing dry dur­ing the day and yet have per­sis­tent night­time wet­ting. It’s not clear why some chil­dren have prob­lems with blad­der con­trol at night, while oth­ers do not. But bed­wet­ting tends to be more com­mon in chil­dren who are heavy sleep­ers.

There is noth­ing a child can or can­not do to pre­vent bed­wet­ting, and you should never pun­ish a child when it hap­pens. The tech­niques you’re us­ing to try to curb bed­wet­ting — lim­it­ing liq­uids be­fore bed­time and us­ing a bed­wet­ting alarm — may help and are rea­son­able steps to take. Just be pa­tient as you work with your son, and try not to be­come dis­cour­aged if the prob­lem doesn’t stop. It usu­ally takes time. For ex­am­ple, with a bed­wet­ting alarm, it of­ten takes at least two weeks to see any re­sponse and up to 12 weeks to en­joy com­pletely dry nights.

If you no­tice any of the fol­low­ing symp­toms, con­tact your son’s health care provider: un­usual strain­ing dur­ing uri­na­tion, a small or nar­row stream of urine, drib­bling af­ter uri­na­tion, cloudy or pink urine, blood­stains on un­der­pants or night­clothes, red­ness or a rash in the gen­i­tal area, or day­time as well as night­time wet­ting. Also, talk to his health care provider if your son is hav­ing pain or a burn­ing sen­sa­tion when he uri­nates. These symp­toms could sig­nal a uri­nary tract in­fec­tion, or a blad­der or kid­ney prob­lem. In some cases, ac­ci­dents dur­ing the day as well as at night may be an early sign of di­a­betes, al­though that is uncommon.

If your son hides wet un­der­wear or bed­ding to con­ceal wet­ting, or if he seems par­tic­u­larly stressed about it, talk to his health care provider about ways you may be able to help your son feel less anx­ious about bed­wet­ting.

Rarely, pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tion may be used. Med­i­ca­tions are avail­able that can slow night­time urine pro­duc­tion, calm the blad­der or change a child’s sleep­ing and wak­ing pat­tern. These med­i­ca­tions do not cure bed­wet­ting. When a child stops tak­ing them, the bed­wet­ting typ­i­cally comes back.

Most chil­dren even­tu­ally out­grown bed­wet­ting. Of­ten, all that is needed is time, sup­port, un­der­stand­ing and pa­tience.


Time, sup­port, un­der­stand­ing and pa­tience will even­tu­ally put an end to bed­wet­ting.


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