If you have a young child who wets the bed at night, you are not alone. Bedwetting occurs in 15 percent of children at or around the age five years old. In this blog, I outline the different causes of bedwetting in children and the various strategies you could try to help this condition.
What is bedwetting?
Nocturnal enuresis or nighttime urinary incontinence, commonly called bedwetting, is involuntary urination while asleep after the age at which bladder control usually occurs. Nocturnal enuresis is considered primary when a child has not yet had a prolonged period of being dry. Secondary Nocturnal enuresis is when bedwetting occurs after an extended period of dryness after the age at which bladder control usually occurs.
What are the common causes in children?
In my practice, bedwetting is very rarely the primary reason parents are bringing their children to see me. Bedwetting is usually a secondary to other health concerns including some mental health issues, such as ADD, ADHD or Hyperactivity. Other causes include:
- Drinking too much liquid.
- Sexual abuse – this typically a secondary cause. When bedwetting occurs after a period of dryness, this cause should be a consideration.
- Neurogenic inflammation – caused by consumption of foods that are causing inflammation to the nervous system controlling the urinary system.
- A Small bladder.
- Genetics – If a child has one parent who was a bed wetter, they are 40% more likely to do the same. And if both parents were bedwetters this increases that rate to 70% likelihood.
- Sweets that are eaten just before bedtime.
How can we help?
When looking to help a child with bedwetting, I suggest considering the simplest possible causes first, including:
- Avoid drinking liquids after 5 pm.
- Avoid sugary foods at supper time.
If the above measures bring no or only partial improvement, then I suggest looking at foods as a trigger. Consider a three-week trial of removing gluten, dairy and sugar-containing foods from the diet. If symptoms improve, reintroduce one food group at a time and monitor for any return of symptoms. If symptoms, do not improve, consider asking your family doctor or health practitioner, for a food sensitivity IgG blood test. This test may bring to light some other inflammatory foods that may be at the root of the symptoms.
Although some of the natural remedies below have not been scientifically proven to be useful for treating bedwetting, anecdotal and clinical evidence, persuades me to share them with you.
Homeopathy is a form of energetic medicine that stimulates the body to help itself. Homoeopathic remedies come in the form of liquids or small lactose pills. There is some evidence that both Belladonna and Nux Vomica have been helpful in the treatment of bedwetting.
Herbal medicines come in the form of capsules or alcohol-based liquid tinctures. Herbs that are worth consideration include Uva Ursi, Cranberry, Gentian and St Johns Wort.
If you have any questions about this article either post them in the comments section below or email using the form on my contact page.
This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.