I opened USA Today this morning and was greeted with a great piece about the comedian, Sarah Silverman, and her new book, “The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee”. I plan to read it soon.
According to the article, Sarah wet the bed until she was in high school. One reason that I am so happy to see her story being published is that the more we can openly discuss bedwetting, its embarrassing implications and its resolution, the more families will feel comfortable seeking help. Getting the word out that bedwetters can grow into pretty wonderful people is important. At the Bedwetting Store, we try to offer concrete suggestions, matter-of-fact phone discussions and product reviews that are actual stories from families of bedwetting children.
As a nurse practitioner, I speak with families of bedwetting teens on a weekly, if not daily, basis. These teens often feel hopeless, helpless and that they are destined to be denied sleepovers, camp and college dorm living for the rest of their lives. Developmentally, the incidence of bedwetting decreases as kids get older so that only about 1% of 18 year olds continue to struggle with bedwetting.
That said, it’s also important to know that there are effective steps that can be taken to speed up the whole developmental process. Bedwetting alarms continue to be an effective strategy for teens with bedwetting to learn the behavior of getting up to urinate when their bladder is full. Some teens have half-heartedly tried using a bedwetting alarm at some point in time, perhaps when they were 7 or 8. Because they did not achieve dryness at that time, they assume that this method will not be effective for them. I have had success in my practice with using the wireless alarms for older kids. Both the Rodger wireless and Malem wireless alarms allow the teen to select a sound to alert them when wetting occurs. Picking a tone that is similar to their cell phone ringtone may be helpful. Achieving dryness and getting up as a response to a full bladder is a permanent behavior that can take time to learn, but having a tool to help speed up this whole process is a welcome relief for most teens.