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March 07, 2014

Does your child wet the bed?

If you answer yes your child may need to be seen by a Continence Nurse Consultant.

What is bed wetting?

Bed wetting (also called Nocturnal Enuresis) is when the bladder empties while the child is asleep. It is only treated after the child is 6 years of age or older, as many children will stop on their own between 5 and 6 years of age. This can happen every night or just sometimes. Bed wetting is quite common, up to 20% of 5 year olds; about 10% of 10 year olds and 3% of 15 year olds have problems with bed wetting. About 15% of children with bed wetting will cease wetting without any intervention.

Bed wetting can be genetic. If one parent wet the bed as a child there is about a 40% chance of them having a child who will also wet the bed, if both parents wet the bed then there is a 70% chance of them having a child who will wet the bed.

Causes of bed wetting are that the child does not wake to the signal from the bladder, or they may have a bladder that empties on its own, they could be producing large amounts of urine overnight or they may have a bladder that holds very small amount s of urine.

It is very important to remember that children who have a problem with wetting the bed are not lazy or being naughty.

What can be done about bed wetting?

Programs to encourage fluid intake by teaching the child to have regular fluid and therefore increasing the amount of urine in the bladder can be helpful. It is mainly used so that when the child gets dry they will not have to wake to use the toilet through the night and can be more successful at staying dry. The main treatment used for bed wetting is the alarm (enuresis alarm) mat, as the child starts to wet an alarm rings to wake the child. This helps to teach the child’s brain to wake to the feeling of a full bladder. The alarm is usually used for 6-8 weeks; the first 2 weeks are the hardest on the child and the parents/carer as it means interrupted sleep. This is the best treatment for bed wetting. There are some medications that can be used for holidays or sleep overs. Medication is not recommended for long term use.

Continence nurse consultant

Moyne Health Services provides the services of a Continence Nurse Consultant on the first and third Mondays of the month. For an appointment please phone 55680002.

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