Bedwetting among children is involuntary. It is not about laziness nor spitefulness. There are not necessarily any emotional problems, learning difficulties or behavioural problems involved.
We're collaborating with DryNites in educating and raising awareness around the subject of bedwetting. Their website has a wealth of information, so I've put together some key takeaways to help us all understand bedwetting a little better. Let's get into it :)
Bedwetting: What is it?
Not all children master nighttime dryness at the same age. It's just the same as learning any skill, such as walking or talking. Some children are dry before they know how to walk and talk properly; for others, it's the other way around. Whilst there are ways to urge a child to walk or talk, it is inadvisable, and indeed impossible, to force a child to be dry at night. Be patient, don't interrupt their sleep and don't blame your child.
Let’s talk about nocturnal enuresis
Nocturnal enuresis is a urinary problem characterised by involuntary urination, occurring intermittently in the sleep of children aged over 5. By this age, a child should be sufficiently mature to be able to control their bladder through the night. It is estimated that over 18% of children aged 5 and over still wet the bed, some every night, others less frequently.
To understand enuresis better, it is useful to know how the kidneys and the bladder work, let's dive into that for a second.
All the blood that flows through our body is filtered in the kidneys. Some of the liquid and nutritive substances are returned to the bloodstream, whilst excess fluid and waste products are concentrated in the form of urine.
The urine descends through the body in tubes called ureters, until it reaches the bladder, a muscle that resembles an elastic balloon - extendable and retractable. The bladder has two jobs: to store urine and to expel it, through another tube which is called the urethra.
At night, the pituitary gland produces an antidiuretic hormone which slows down urine production. Certain children only produce a very small quantity of this hormone at night and, as a result, their kidneys continue to produce as much urine as they do during the day. This could explain why they always wet the bed. It could also be possible that their brain doesn't respond to the signal sent by the bladder, or that they have trouble waking up.
In any case, the child doesn't realise that their bladder is full, they don't get up, and they unwittingly expel the urine...in their bed.
Advice and tips to tackle bedwetting
For your child to grow in confidence, it is important to make them aware of their responsibilities and teach them to look after themselves. Do this by giving them advice to follow and setting them little missions, which they can accomplish on their own, for example:
- To go to the toilet on their own during the day
- To 'listen' to the signals that their bladder is sending
- To avoid delaying toilet trips and to make the trip as soon as they feel the need
- To drink water regularly during the day but limit drinks in the period before going to sleep
- To leave a light on in their bedroom so that they can go to the toilet easily during the night
The 'little missions' calendar for dry nights
DryNites® has created a fun bedwetting calendar which can help your child to take responsibility for themselves through simple and enjoyable little missions.
Before going to sleep, the child can draw a symbol of their choice (a fish, a smiley face, etc.) on that day's space on the calendar - if they have fulfilled their missions for the day! The next day, they can draw another symbol if they had a good night and did not wet the bed. The drawings represent a reward, both for dry nights and for the child's efforts. These rewards ensure the child feels valued and their confidence is boosted. They learn simple developmental norms in a positive way and they grow up as a result. Children can take the bedwetting calendar to their doctor to show off their progress!
Time and patience are generally your child's greatest allies, but you may naturally wonder how you can help them. Solutions for treating bedwetting range from simple tips to try at home to prescription medical treatment.
DryNites® Pyjama Pants offer effective protection which can be used at the same time as other treatments. They are discreet and very absorbent, especially designed to resemble normal underwear, which will help your child to have a good night's sleep.
DryNites are here to help make this transition easy and stress-free. Available from Checkers Hyper, Dischem,Baby City, Clicks, Takealot and Babies R Us stores.
Read more and find the best ways to make the challenge of bedwetting that much easier by also visiting www.drynites.co.za.
Information source: www.drynites.co.za