Bed Wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)
Your Guide to Nocturnal Enuresis (bed wetting)
Every child is different, development can come in fits and starts. Some children potty train really easily by age two but rarely have a dry night. Others might be exactly the opposite. Around 15 to 20% of five year olds wet the bed and about 10% of seven year olds. This often runs in the family, is twice a common in boys and most often stops by puberty.
Why does it happen?
There is no single reason why children wet the bed. If your child has been dry at night but suddenly starts wetting, you might suspect an emotional trigger such as a new baby in the family, perhaps some stress associated with starting school or an anxiety around a family bereavement or another stressful event. However, in younger children it can be caused by an inability to recognise what a full bladder feels like and means. In most cases it is to do with physical development. The bladder may simply be small and not quite developed enough to hold all the urine produced at night or there may be a structural problem in the urinary tract or nervous system. There can be a delay in the production of anti-diuretic hormone too. Other less common causes are bladder or kidney infections, constipation, worms, spinal misalignment or very rarely food allergies.
Don’t worry about limiting your child’s fluid intake before bed as this will not make much of a difference. Being dehydrated can make things worse! If a child has had too much to drink they should be able to wake up and let you know they need to go. An absorbent product such as a night nappy will give your child reassurance, reduce stress and can improve sleep quality so can be a useful management tool. In older children bladder control exercises can be helpful. Ask your child to ‘hold on’ just for one minute at a time to practise their awareness and control of the muscles of the pelvic floor. This may be part of a strategy to allow your child to feel more in control and less stressed about the situation.
The medical term for bedwetting is nocturnal enuresis. Primary nocturnal enuresis means a child has always wet the bed. Secondary nocturnal enuresis means that a child will have been dry at night for over 6 months but then relapses. This is most likely to have an emotional cause.
If one of the following remedies fits the picture of your child you can try it in a 30c potency twice daily for 3-5 days. If this doesn’t help, please book in for an appointment and I will help because this is just a small sample of the possible remedy selection.
Belladonna – helpful if the wetting occurs after midnight and the child is very restless during sleep.
Benzoic Acid – bedwetting where the urine has an offensive smell and leaves brown stains on the bed.
Causticum – often the wetting happens straight after being put down, there is a tendency to bladder weakness in general which you may have already noticed when they laugh or cough.
Cina – bedwetting relating to worms – children are extremely irritable, rub their nostrils and often grind their teeth during sleep.
Equisetum – my number 1 choice. The child often dreams they have urinated and can be troubled with nightmares.
Kreosotum – for the extremely deep sleepers, you can’t wake them easily for any reason!
Pulsatilla – for the weepy, yielding child who tends towards clinginess but who perks up in fresh air when the window is open.
Sepia – wetting straight after getting off to sleep, wets frequently in the night.