A small retrospective study from Japan finds that children who use bedwetting alarms in the summer are more successful than those who use them in the winter. The authors had empirically observed that bedwetting worsens in the winter season and they decided to research this. The 67 participants used the alarm for 4 months and were divided into treatment success and treatment failure groups and then analyzed as to the time of year they used the bedwetting alarm.
Initiation of treatment in the winter season, December through April, was a variable associated with treatment failure. Summer success rate was 68% versus winter success rate of 38%. (Of note, the dropout rate was 8.9% and these children were added to the failure group. No mention was made as to how long they used the alarm before they dropped out.)
Hypotheses of why these results occurred include more urine production during one season, parents and children’s work/holiday schedule and the role of the circadian clock and length of daylight and nighttime hours.
-There was no urine volume difference across the seasons so NO greater urine production at different times of the year.
-Children in Japan only have summer holiday of 1 month, in August, and parents’ summer holidays are less than 1 week. They could have initiated the alarm use during holiday, but completed it during the school year. They did mention that alarm use extended between the traditional 3 month seasons in some cases.
-We aren’t certain how the circadian clock affects the brain, bladder and kidney regulation of water and electrolytes, but this is something that might be a clue to the results.
Many families in the US do choose to begin bedwetting alarm use in the summer and according to this study, are doing the right thing. Parents site a more relaxed schedule, without the school and study obligations, as the main reason for using the alarm at this time of the year. Sleepovers and camps are activities their kids want to enjoy during the summer as well.
So, if your child is school age, and still wets most nights, NOW appears to be the right time of the year to start using a bedwetting alarm in order to be the most successful.