Experts say bedwetting common among children, offer advice

Children’s Mercy Hospital says bedwetting affects five-to-seven million children in the United States every year. (CBS)

Wetting the bed can be an embarrassing issue for children but medical experts say it’s actually very common.

Children’s Mercy Hospital says bedwetting affects five-to-seven million children in the United States every year. Ten-to-fifteen-percent of children ages five to seven are affected by bedwetting and five-percent of children ages eleven to twelve are affected.

There are several factors that go into the problem.

First, constipation can affect a child’s bladder.

Second, family history. Bedwetting runs in the family, so it is typically not an underlying medical problem and the child will usually outgrow it.

Third, an overactive bladder, which occurs when the child cannot store urine in their bladder very well.

According to Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Jamie Neal Lewis, parents can work to prevent their child from wetting the bed by having them practice good daytime habits like making sure they go to the bathroom frequently and encouraging them to relax while doing so.

“Sometimes just cutting back on caffeine, carbonation, other drinks that can irritate your bladder and not let it work as well, such as red dyes or citrusy juices like orange juice or lemonade,” Lewis said. “For some people, cutting back on those types of drinks may make a big difference.”

Bedwetting is not considered abnormal until after five years of age.

According to Children’s Mercy, the rule of thumb for parents is to seek treatment when they truly feel bedwetting is an issue.

There are multiple treatment options available to parents.

A common treatment is a bedwetting alarm.

The alarm attacked a sensor to the child’s underwear with the alarm sounding if it gets wet. Eventually, the brain will start to avoid the alarm going off, and the child will wake up before they’re wet and eventually they’ll hold their urine all night.

When used correctly, the moisture alarms have a 70-to-80-percent success rate.

“The other treatment options are medications,” Lewis added. “Medications don’t cure the bedwetting but they can really help control it and help keep the child dry at least for special occasions.”

Officials say 15-percent of children stop bedwetting without treatment.

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