ASK THE EX­PERT

Llanelli Star - - FAMILY HEALTH - ■ For more ad­vice call the ERIC blad­der and bowel helpline freep­hone 0808 169 9949.

QMY­seven-year-old son still wets the bed, and both he and I are em­bar­rassed about it. Is this nor­mal at his age, and what can I do to help him stay dry at night?

ALINALYNDE­N, a helpline ad­viser for ERIC, the chil­dren’s bowel and blad­der char­ity (eric. org.uk/bed­wet­ting), says: “Wet­ting the bed is a com­mon child­hood con­di­tion af­fect­ing half a mil­lion chil­dren and teenagers in the UK.

“Around 12% of seven to nineyear-olds reg­u­larly wet the bed. How­ever, it’s some­thing which can have a huge im­pact on a child’s life, af­fect­ing their self-es­teem, emo­tional well­be­ing, achieve­ment at school and so­cial life.

Chil­dren may feel so em­bar­rassed about their bed­wet­ting that they avoid sleep­overs or go­ing on school camp for fear of their ‘se­cret’ be­ing dis­cov­ered.

“There are lots of things you can do now to try and help him get dry. The most im­por­tant thing to start with is to give him lots of sup­port and re­as­sur­ance – let him know he’s done noth­ing wrong and he’s not the only kid his age to wet the bed.

“Make sure he’s not hav­ing blad­der prob­lems such as fre­quency or ur­gency in the day, and get these treated if nec­es­sary.

“Work out whether he’s drink­ing enough dur­ing the day (six to eight glasses of wa­ter-based fluid is best) and make sure he knows to stop drink­ing an hour be­fore bed.

“En­cour­age him to have a quiet wind down without screens in that last hour be­fore sleep and to do a sit­ting down wee be­fore he gets into bed.

“Have a short trial of around a week or so without night-time pull-ups on to see if this helps his aware­ness lev­els.

“If you try all these things and they make lit­tle dif­fer­ence, book an ap­point­ment with your doc­tor or the school nurse. It’s im­por­tant all chil­dren who are bed-wet­ting over the age of five years are seen by a health pro­fes­sional.

“They should start by rul­ing out an un­der­ly­ing rea­sons for the wet­ting such as a uri­nary tract in­fec­tion or con­sti­pa­tion, and get these treated first if nec­es­sary. Bed-wet­ting can also be a symp­tom of other ill­nesses such as di­a­betes.”

Half a mil­lion chil­dren and teens wet the bed in the UK

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