Bedwetting can continue in 1-2% of teens. This does not sound like a lot, but if you are in this 1-2%, it’s a big deal. You may begin to feel alone and hopeless, and worry that you will never have a dry night. While 15% of bedwetting children spontaneously stop each year, puberty does not “cure” bedwetting. Missing out on fun overnight outings with friends and daily laundry can stress even the well-adjusted teen.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Most families have tried these strategies but they bear repeating to make sure they are in place.
• Regular routine and bedtime, try to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep each night
• Double voiding 30 minutes before bed and again immediately before falling asleep
• Drink throughout the entire day. This may mean taking a water bottle to school. Drink enough so that the bathroom needs to be used at least once, if not twice while at school.
• Insure regular bowel movements. Make sure you have a daily bowel movement. If not, work with your pediatrician to manage constipation. An x-ray of your abdomen is an easy way for your health care provider to determine if you have retained stool that could be contributing to your bedwetting.
Solving the problem
If you have already tried these things and are certain that constipation is not an issue, the best permanent solution for bedwetting is using a bedwetting alarm. Alarms are perfect for sound sleeping teens who have no idea when wetting happens. Because you have no idea when you wet, it is hard to make a change.
Moisture sensing bedwetting alarms sound when urine is detected. You are alerted so you can begin to make the brain-bladder connection. You may sleep through the loud alarm initially. That is how most users begin so do not be discouraged! Your parent’s job is to go to your room, wake you, remind you to turn off the alarm and walk to the bathroom. Over time, you begin to learn what a full bladder feels like and that you must be in the bathroom before the urine is released. You eventually get up before wetting or hold it until morning. Dryness is most often achieved by doing both of these things.
The good news is that bedwetting alarms work as effectively in teens as they do in younger children. It usually takes teens a little longer to get to complete dryness, but a few extra weeks to change a behavior that has been going on for years is quite manageable.
Recommended alarm for Teens
The Rodger wireless alarm is my recommendation for teens. The sensor underwear fit just like regular underwear and is easy to put on, no matter how tired you are. A positive feature of wireless alarms is that you must get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Since the receiver is located across the room, it will continue to sound from that location until it is turned off. Some tech savvy teens quickly disconnect the sensor from alarms that are worn on the shoulder, then roll over and go back to sleep. Wireless alarms prevent this from happening.
A vibrating cushion can also be added to this alarm to shake the bed or pillow when the alarm sounds. I recommend this strong vibration in addition to the loud sound. One ingenious teen put this vibratory unit on top of a metal pan, close to the head of his bed. It made a loud clanging sound at the same time the wall unit sounded. Remember that this alarm will not shut off until you walk over to the wall and turn it off.
If your parent’s room is on a different floor from yours, they can get an additional receiver for their room to insure that you are getting up when the alarm sounds.
Even if you have used some type of alarm in the past, it is worth retrying this method with a good product. My book, Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness, outlines what to expect along the way and has a section devoted to teens. You should wear the alarm every night when in your own home, until 14 consecutive nights of dryness are achieved. Finish by using the alarm every other night until an additional 14 dry nights are achieved. Patience and persistence are important but research demonstrates that bedwetting alarms are the most effective cure.