Synonymous with the everyday expression “bedwetting,” this medical term refers to the fact of unconsciously and involuntarily passing urine during sleep. This form of incontinence mainly affects young children, but can persist right up to adolescence.
Types of enuresis
More common among boys, it affects children who have never totally learned bladder control after the age of six.
It recurs after a dry period of at least six months.
Causes of enuresis
Toilet training is probably one of the most difficult tasks for children to master. In fact, recognizing the urge to urinate can take a long time.
Several factors can explain childhood incontinence:
- Immaturity of the bladder;
- Genetic predisposition;
- Hormones (If the secretion of antidiuretic hormones is inadequate during the night, the bladder will fill to excess and overflow);
- Difficulty to waken;
- Emotional problems (e.g. family difficulties, birth of a sibling, etc.);
- Illness (e.g. malformation of the urinary system, urinary infection, diabetes, spina bifida, constipation, etc.).
Complications of enuresis
Enuresis can have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem. If your child wets the bed, using guilt will serve no useful purpose. Instead, congratulate him or her for dry nights and try to understand the reasons behind the problem.
Unfortunately it is impossible to prevent the onset of primary enuresis. However, certain basic measures must be taken to help the child who wets the bed. For example:
- Preserve his or her self-esteem by, for one thing, not forcing a child to wear diapers, something which might be considered as a return to infancy;
- Involve children in the treatment. Remind them of the importance of using the toilet before going to bed;
Make life a little easier by setting a small receptacle for night use near your child’s bed or by covering the mattress with a vinyl mattress cover;
- Before bedtime, reduce their consumption of caffeinated products (e.g. cola, hot chocolate or chocolate bars) especially liquids.
Another option is to use a special alarm that gets triggered when it comes into contact with urine. This treatment is very effective among children 7 years of age and over. There are also certain medications that can be used to treat enuresis. To learn more, ask your pharmacist!
Do you have questions about enuresis and its treatment? Talk to your pharmacist. He’s there to help!