12 year old with relapse

JP writes about her 12 year old son who achieved dryness at 8 years of age using a bedwetting alarm. Over the past year, she has noticed occasional wet underwear in the laundry but has not taken any action. In the last 3 months, however, she began to notice wet underwear and bedding 4-5 nights a week. She wonders what action they should take and why this has restarted. Everything at school is fine and he has not started any new medications or activities. The only difference she can think of is that he is getting less sleep each night. He reads until very late and often just drops off to sleep when he can no longer stay awake.

JP, in my experience, I have noticed that fatigue and being overly tired does seem to contribute to an increase in bedwetting. My patients will report that they were once able to get up when they needed to urinate in the nighttime, but it seems that they no longer do this. There are a few steps that your son can take to get back to dryness. Getting adequate sleep is important and your son should turn his lights off at a designated time each night. He should urinate one last time when he is turning off his light, even if he doesn’t feel the urge to do so. After dinner beverages should be limited to water. Sodas and even colored sports drinks can contribute to wetting in some kids.

Restarting a bedwetting alarm is also important. This will help him re-establish the ability to get up when he needs to urinate. He may need your help with this again. Make sure you can hear the alarm from your room and insure that he is getting up when the alarm sounds. I recommend either the Rodger or Malem wireless alarm for kids in his age group. If he doesn’t wear a shirt to bed, either of these will work fine for him. The Rodger alarm comes with specialized briefs and the Malem fastens to his own briefs. The Malem Selectable alarm would also work because it offers the option of changing the sounds, especially nice if he easily audio-accommodates.

Although this setback can be very frustrating for all involved, I believe that he can get back to dryness if you tackle it now. It is important for him to be consistent with using the alarm so it is in place on the nights that he needs it.

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