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Tommy is 9 and wets the bed almost every night. In the morning, he is so embarrassed that he hides his sheets in his closet. His mom is worried about him because he’s started to become less talkative, and seems sad most of the time. He tells her the kids tease him at school because at a recent sleepover they saw he was wearing a pull-up for bedtime. He doesn’t want to go to baseball practice because he is worried he may get teased.
Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, is described as a developing child having involuntary urination at night over the age of five. According to a Swedish study, children who suffer from bedwetting have increased antisocial tendencies and lower self-esteem than their peers. Many children feel shame or guilt over bedwetting, even though it isn’t their fault.
There are many causes of bedwetting. Kids who suffer from constipation are more likely to wet the bed. Children who have problems with their upper or lower urinary tract system may also have difficulty staying dry at night. Kids whose parents wet the bed are more likely to wet the bed themselves. Unfortunately, this creates a lot of guilt with parents because they feel it is their fault. One statistic states that for every year a child ages, they are 15% more likely to “grow out of” bedwetting. Unfortunately, each year a child waits, the more it can affect them emotionally.
It’s important for kids to know that bedwetting is not their fault! Their body is simply not listening to them, rather than it being something they are doing on purpose. It’s also important for kids and their caregivers to know that there is treatment for this!
Some children may need to see a specialist, such as a pediatric urologist, to discuss if there is something going on with their body system that causes this issue. Other children may benefit from medication to assist their body in making what it needs to prevent nighttime urination.
One treatment is called urotherapy, which is a therapy offered by health professionals, such as a pediatric physical or occupational therapist. It typically consists of a professional evaluating your child’s ability to activate the correct muscles, giving you a bladder/bowel diary to track food intake and outtake, and other assessment tools. Based on the evaluation results, your health care professional will recommend a treatment plan. This often involves recommending dietary changes, strengthening the pelvic floor and core musculature, and retraining the bladder and bowels with a bladder and/or bowel schedule.
If your child experiences bed-wetting and is over the age of five, don’t wait to talk with your doctor! The right treatment plan can help your child’s symptoms resolve while helping them regain their self-confidence.
At Oaklawn Physical Rehabilitation Services, we have trained physical therapists who can offer pediatric pelvic health and urotherapy services. If you feel your child could benefit from our services, ask your physician for a referral and speak with one of your therapists today about treatment options!