• Dr. Nicole Knapp

What to Do When Your Child is Still Bedwetting?

We all know that an infant and let’s say a two-year-old isn't expected to make it through a night of sleep without urinating. There is a general “normal” range of years that a child would gain the ability to stay dry through the night. What most parents don’t know is that length of time usually varies from child to child. The term used for loss of bladder control is called urinary incontinence and it is quite common for a child to take longer than the allotted time most people expect. Children over the ages of six who continue to have nighttime incontinence quite often are diagnosed with Nocturnal Enuresis (NE), which is described as involuntary urination while sleeping after the age when a person should be able to control their bladder.

Common causes of bedwetting (NE):

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Night terrors

  • Overactive bladder

  • Physical, emotional and psychological stress/fear

  • Neurological disorders

  • Constipation

  • Sleep apnea

  • Type 1 diabetes

  • Small and/or underdeveloped bladder

  • Hormonal imbalance in adults

  • Alcohol intoxication as seen in adults

  • Prostate enlargement/cancer in adults

  • Genetics

This can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing subject to discuss especially as an adult and it is common for a child who deals with bedwetting to develop feelings of guilt, frustration or blame from a parent. This can make it harder for further treatments to make any successful steps towards helping a child and may create some social concerns. The focus should be on incremental improvements and parents need to remember to be encouraging, supportive and avoid involving punishment during treatment. Always remember that improvement and success take time.

It is crucially important to rule out any potential worrisome medical conditions when visiting your doctor and there are a number of medications that can give some immediate continence, however, once the drugs are out of the system, NE may return thus not being the primary go-to choice.

What to Do Next

Sometimes finding things we can do to motivate a child or an adult to achieve continence even if it’s just setting goals.

  • Incorporating sticker charts for a child. Once they’ve reached so many dry nights, a reward is given. This promotes readiness and knowledge of the issue at hand that needs improvement.

  • Use a bedwetting alarm- there are several different methods with this choice, one being your typical alarm, another via a moisture detector which is typically positioned in the child’s underwear. Over time, the child is conditioned to wake up prior to urinating.

  • Keep a bedwetting diary when accidents occur

  • Watch the number of fluids going in (how much do they drink at night before bedtime?)

  • Keep track of drinks consumed (sugary, caffeinated, carbonated, alcoholic, etc.)

  • Any existing or recurring urinary infections

  • The number of wet nights versus dry nights

  • Record any other symptoms that may have occurred

  • Any preexisting genetic conditions in the parents who may have had the same issue growing up?

  • Are they getting the chiropractic care that they need?

How can Chiropractic help?

Chiropractic adjustments can help the nerves that control the urinary system functions. Your nervous system affects every part of your body and when a chiropractor can restore normalcy to the spine, the nerves and organs in your body are able to operate properly. Studies have shown that children with nocturnal enuresis who maintained a chiropractic adjustment schedule had a 50% reduction of wet nights.

A healthy combination of chiropractic visits, motivational tools, and an alarm system can help your child achieve continence through the night. Remember, a child can’t grow without love, support and encouragement from those who love them! For more information, feel free to give us a call at 262-796-5108, follow us on Facebook @knappchiro, or stop on by! We look forward to meeting you and your family.

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