Bedwetting - Nocturnal Enuresis
Bedwetting - Nocturnal Enuresis
When most people think of Bedwetting, what comes to mind is usually basic information that's not particularly interesting or beneficial. But there's a lot more to Bedwetting than just the basics.
Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) is an extremely common and frustrating problem for children and families. Bedwetting can at times be related to medical conditions such as infections of the urinary tract, sickle-cell anemia* , diabetes* , epilepsy* , or an improperly formed bladder.
Bedwetting is involuntary urination during sleep. It is also referred to as night-time incontinence or nocturnal enuresis. It is not a behavioral problem and may not be related to how a child sleeps. Many parents have the perception that their children are very 'deep' sleepers and this is what has caused the bedwetting. However, studies have shown no difference in the sleep patterns of enuretic and normal children. There is more evidence suggesting that enuresis is the result of a developmental delay in the normal process of achieving nighttime control. The normal process involves the release of a hormone that prompts the kidneys to slow down production of urine during nighttime sleep. This hormone, called vasopressin, is not secreted in many children who have a problem at night usually.
Sometimes bedwetting can be a response to stress, such as an emotional conflict or anxiety that a child is experiencing. Psychologists and other mental health professionals regularly report that children begin wetting the bed during times of conflict at home or school. Dramatic changes in home and family life also appear to lead some children to wet the bed. Moving to a new town, parent conflict or divorce, arrival of a new baby, or loss of a loved one or pet can cause insecurity that contributes to bedwetting. Often children are not even aware of their emotions and can't believe that there is a link between their feelings and bedwetting.
To diagnose and make the treatment easier, doctors at times classify bedwetting problems into two types, one is primary bedwetting (Primary Nocturnal Enuresis) and the other is secondary bedwetting (Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis - SNE).
Primary Nocturnal Enuresis - Primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE) is the most common form of bedwetting. Bedwetting counts as a disorder once a child is old enough to stay dry, but continues either to average at least two wet nights a week with no long periods of dryness or to not sleep dry without being taken to the toilet by another person.
Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis- Secondary nocturnal enuresis may be caused by psychological issues, (eg. death in the family, sexual abuse, extreme bullying) and is often associated with stress. It may also result from an acquired condition such as diabetes, overproduction of hormone by the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), seizure disorder (eg epilepsy), and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The psychological effects that bedwetting can have on children are stronger than we may think. How parents deal with their children's bedwetting further dictates the child's emotional statis concerning it. Parents should be supportive and understanding of the problem, realising that it is entirely sub/unconscious. Bedwetting can destroy a child's self esteem, and limit their desire to engage in overnight activities with friends, or go on camping or other overnight adventures where they'll be in a room or bed with other people. They will likely suffer humiliation and bullying
from siblings or friends who are aware of the problem as well. Children who have wet the bed in the past have ranked it as the 3rd most stressful event in their lives.
All in all be patient. Most children grow out of bedwetting.
Knowing enough about Bedwetting to make solid, informed choices cuts down on the fear factor. If you apply what you've just learned about Bedwetting, you should have nothing to worry about.