Bed-wetting in Children
The following are some common questions asked on bed-wetting.
It is uncontrollable wetting while asleep in an otherwise healthy child beyond early childhood. Most bed-wetters seeking treatment in Singapore are:
Yes, especially when the child is already of school-going age and the wetting is frequent. Studies have shown that constant bed-wetting can adversely affect the psychosocial development of the child causing low self-esteem and poor social adjustment. It can also cause resentment and anxiety in parents and other family members. It constitutes a source of embarrassment and prevents the child from participating in healthy outdoor activities like overnight camping and travelling
In Singapore, it has been found that bed-wetters and their parents sought treatment for the following reasons:
Actual incidence of bed-wetting is unknown in Singapore. However, it is believed to be quite common and there is an increasing number of parents seeking treatment for their children in recent years. Its occurrence in Singapore might be under-reported as it had been found that many children and parents were too embarrassed to seek treatment while others thought that there is no effective treatment; thereby suffering in silence. In Western countries, the problem is common with a reported incidence of 10% among 7-year-olds, 5% among 10-year-olds and 1% in the adult population.
The exact cause or causes of bed-wetting are unknown. Various factors or causes that have been suggested include:
No. Bed-wetting is involuntary and the child is actually helpless and has no control over wetting. In fact, punishing or blaming a child for bed-wetting may actually lead to psychological problems in a child.
For treatment of bed-wetting, consult a paediatrician who will obtain a proper history and perform a physical examination of your child to make sure that there are no medical illnesses in your child. Investigations such as urine/blood tests or ultrasound scan of the bladder/kidneys may be necessary in some cases. In the absence of medical illnesses, your child’s paediatrician may suggest certain measures e.g. no oral fluids 2 hours prior to bedtime, going to toilet before bedtime, avoidance of caffeinated drinks (which may increase urine output and also affect sleep), bed-wetting alarm, star chart for reward/encouragement on dry days etc. Medications are rarely required unless severe. For worried parents, you might be reassured that bed-wetting often improves with age.
Read other bed-wetting related topics for babies and young children:
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