At what age is bedwetting a problem?
Bedwetting is a very common issue among young children, with approximately 15% of children still wetting the bed at age five, and 5% of children wetting the bed at age ten. While it is not uncommon for children to wet the bed during their early years, it can become a cause for concern if it continues beyond a certain age. So what can you do? Here's a quick bedwetting guide for you!
At what age is bedwetting considered a problem?
The medical term for bedwetting is nocturnal enuresis, and it is defined as the involuntary passage of urine during sleep. In most cases, bedwetting is not a cause for concern until the age of six or seven. This is because bedwetting is common in young children and their bladders are not yet fully developed, making it difficult for them to hold urine throughout the night.
However, if bedwetting continues beyond the age of six or seven, it may be a sign of an underlying medical or psychological issue. It can also be difficult for a child when they realise they're wetting the bed when they shouldn't anymore. For example, when their younger siblings are waking up dry, as opposed to the older child who still wets the bed...
Bedwetting in children - what does the NHS says?
According to the National Health Service (NHS), bedwetting is not usually a cause for concern until the age of 5 and it is a natural part of your child's development. However, if bedwetting continues beyond the age of five or causes significant distress to the child or their family, it is recommended to seek advice from a healthcare professional. The NHS advises that there are various treatment options available, including lifestyle changes, bedwetting alarms and medication. Your healthcare professional can provide guidance on the most appropriate approach based on your child's individual circumstances. You should certainly speak to your GP if you've tried various things to help with bedwetting and nothing works for your child or if your child has suddenly started wetting the bed again, after being dry for more than 6 months.
Primary and Secondary Bedwetting
There are two types of bedwetting: primary and secondary. Primary bedwetting refers to bedwetting that has been ongoing since childhood and has never stopped. Secondary bedwetting, on the other hand, refers to bedwetting that begins after a child has been dry at night for a period of at least six months.
Did you know that primary bedwetting is often genetic, with a family history of bedwetting being a common factor? It's worth noting that secondary bedwetting may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection, sleep apnea, diabetes or neurological issues. In some cases, psychological factors, such as anxiety or stress, may also contribute to secondary bedwetting.
How to help older children overcome bedwetting
Bedwetting is a common issue among younger children, but it can also affect older children and teenagers. If your older child is struggling with bedwetting, there are several things you can do to help. First, it is important to talk to your child about their bedwetting and reassure them that they are not alone. Encourage your child to take an active role in managing their bedwetting, such as keeping a diary of their wet and dry nights or helping to clean up after accidents. You can also try lifestyle changes, such as limiting fluids before bedtime and establishing a regular bedtime routine.
Bedwetting alarms can also be effective, as they wake the child when they begin to wet the bed, helping to train their bladder to hold more urine. If lifestyle changes and alarms are not effective, medication may be prescribed by a healthcare professional. It is important to remain patient and supportive as your child works to overcome bedwetting, as it can be a difficult and embarrassing issue to deal with.
Be attentive, as bedwetting can have a serious impact on your child's social life and mental health. They might turn down invitations to sleepovers, be anxious about going on holiday, etc. You can reassure them by getting them prepared with waterproof mats and other bedwetting products. It's important to choose a discreet waterproof bed mat so your child doesn't have to explain their situation to others and doesn't feel embarrassed!
Psychological causes of bedwetting
Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, can be caused by a range of factors, including psychological ones. Some psychological causes of bedwetting include anxiety, stress and emotional trauma. Anxiety and stress can cause a child to feel nervous or worried, which can lead to bedwetting. Emotional trauma, such as a divorce, a move to a new home or the death of a loved one, can also cause bedwetting. Additionally, some children may have a personality or behavioural disorder, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), that can contribute to bedwetting. If you suspect that your child's bedwetting may be caused by psychological factors, it is important to seek advice from a healthcare professional, who can provide guidance on the most appropriate treatment options.
What to do if my child wets the bed at 8 years old?
If your 8-year-old child is still wetting the bed, there are several steps you can take to help them overcome the issue:
Talk to your child. Let them know that bedwetting is a common problem and reassure them that it is not their fault. Encourage them to talk to you about how they feel about the situation and let them know that you are there to support them.
Create a nighttime routine. Establish a consistent bedtime routine that might include limiting fluids before bedtime and encouraging your child to empty their bladder before going to sleep.
Use a bedwetting alarm. A bedwetting alarm can help your child learn to recognize the sensation of a full bladder and wake up to use the bathroom. The alarm is placed in the child's underwear and sets off an alarm when it detects moisture.
Reward dry nights. Encourage and praise your child for dry nights. Consider rewarding them with a small prize or special treat for a certain number of consecutive dry nights.
Seek medical advice. If your child's bedwetting is causing them significant distress, or if they have other symptoms such as painful urination or a frequent need to urinate, it is important to seek medical advice. Your healthcare provider can rule out any underlying medical conditions and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Why is my 10-year-old wetting the bed?
There may be several reasons why your 10-year-old still wets the bed. Some of the common reasons may include:
Delayed development. It is possible that your child's bladder may still be developing, which makes it difficult for them to hold urine throughout the night.
Genetics. Bedwetting can be hereditary, so if you or your partner experienced bedwetting as a child, your child may be more likely to experience it as well.
Hormonal imbalances. Some children may produce less of an anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) that helps to reduce the production of urine at night.
Constipation. Constipation can put pressure on the bladder and make it difficult for your child to control their bladder.
Stress. Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety and trauma can also contribute to bedwetting.
If your child is still wetting the bed at 10 years old, it is important to talk to your child's GP to rule out any underlying medical conditions or psychological factors that may be contributing to the bedwetting.
Bedwetting is very common in young children and if it concerns your child, know that you're definitely not alone. It is important to seek medical attention to explore potential causes of bedwetting and to determine the most appropriate treatment options, if bedwetting persists.
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