Bed-wetting is a common problem among children. If the child continues to wet the bed at a later age, it can be quite embarrassing both for the child and parent.
Bed-wetting or enuresis is a condition where the child is unable to keep themselves dry when they are expected to. It refers to the nighttime loss of bladder control.
Dr Shishir Bhatnagar, consultant – paediatrics and neonatology, Cloudnine group of hospitals, told Express Parenting, “Till the age of 18 months, the bladder has an involuntary mechanism of contraction. So, when it is filled with urine, it contracts and releases the urine. This means the child does not have much of a voluntary control on the emptying of the bladder. They begin to gain some control by the age of two or three, so they can indicate once the pressure builds in the bladder.”
Many a times, however, this development may be delayed. Children between the age of four and five usually have a good control of on their daytime bladder pressure. By the age of five, they usually have a good control on their bladder at night too. But about 14 per cent of children above five still wet the bed. One to five per cent continue to do it till the age of 10 years, Dr Bhatnagar said.
This is quite normal and not associated with any disease or illness contrary to popular misconception, and gets self-corrected with time. “There are only rare conditions where enuresis can be a problem and is treated with a drug or some surgical intervention,” said the paediatrician.
Causes of bed-wetting
There is a lot of social pressure of training the child to be dry by the age of two or three. But that may not be the case always. If a child continues to wet the bed, it could be because they are distressed due to pressure from parents, peer groups, school or environmental factors, said Dr Bhatnagar.
What parents can do
Dr Bhatnagar also shared some tips that parents must keep in mind to control their child’s bed-wetting problem.
1. Talk to your child to understand what is troubling him or her, what he likes or dislikes.
2. You cannot compare one child with another. Pressurising the child to be dry at night can actually cause more bed-wetting. Instead of scolding the child, parents need to reassure and console them though you should start training them to control the bladder once they are four to five years old.
3. Rewarding the child for not wetting the bed can also encourage them to overcome the problem.
4. Reduce the intake of fluids during the night.
5. Parents should also consult the school educators and counsellors, if the child has been shifted to a new school and is unable to adjust or if their friends or teachers are being harsh on them or bullying them. Any form of distress that the child might be facing can also cause bed-wetting.