The Bedwetting Store had the pleasure of exhibiting at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in Orlando last weekend. Dr. Malem, from Nottingham, England, and the “brains” behind all the Malem alarms joined us. We enjoyed educating young residents about bedwetting alarms and how they work. Some experienced pediatricians had never seen an alarm in real life, even though they have recommended them to their patients. We were able to explain the differences in the various alarms and how one style of alarm may be superior for one child’s needs. Since we pride ourselves on providing post purchase information and guidance to bedwetting alarm buyers, we shared that with the doctors as well. Knowing what to expect helps families be successful when using the alarm.
Our two tidbits that were shared with everyone:
#1 Yes, many children sleep through the loud sound initially. The parents need to respond and tell their child what to do next.
#2 Yes, the alarm does not sound until the underwear are wet. This is not “too late” but a necessary piece in helping the brain and bladder to communicate and identify precisely when the child needs to wake up. Over time, the feeling that comes with a full bladder is enough to trigger wakefulness.
“My son, age 11, has had bedwetting his whole life. Our pediatrician gave him a prescription for desmopressin pills. We were hoping these would solve his bedwetting, but even 3 pills have not enabled him to have a dry night. We’re at our wits end. What should we do now?”
Bedwetting pills, namely desmospressin, do not work for everyone. Their method of action is to decrease the amount of urine produced in the 10-12 hours after the pills are taken. The urine is more concentrated and has less volume. Less volume means that the bladder has less to hold and in many children, enables them to have a dry night that night. This is a temporary solution because the nights that the medication is not taken, the body returns to making more dilute urine. Special occasion sleepovers are possible in the children who stay dry with these pills.
There is another solution to your son’s bedwetting, however. Using a bedwetting alarm provides a permanent cure. Once your son learns how to wake up to the feeling of a full bladder, he will no longer wet. Older boys are happy to use the Rodger wireless alarm, which senses wetness and then alerts them using a loud sound. The receiver that sounds is plugged into a wall outlet and requires that your son get out of bed to turn it off. The moisture sensing underwear is like regular cotton underwear, and is comfortable and easy to use. Over time, as your son gets used to getting up when he is wetting, his body will begin to wake him before he wets.
Many older children have become dry when using an alarm. There is no reason to wait any longer for him to “outgrow” his problem when you have a permanent solution. Don’t be discouraged just because the pills did not work for him.
Now there is research to confirm what many families have reported-that their child with ADHD also has bedwetting. This retrospective study (358 kids with ADHD and 729 age-and gender-matched controls) found that children with ADHD were 2.1 times more likely to have bedwetting than the controls. Researchers found that 75% of the affected children were male, which is consistent with the general population, in which twice as many males as females have bedwetting. They also found that children with ADHD were 1.8 times more likely to have encopresis (stool soiling).
This study differed from most others that look at the prevalence of ADHD in bedwetting children. This study looked at children who had a definitive diagnosis of ADHD, then ascertained whether they had bedwetting or encopresis. Both types of studies confirm the co-morbidity of ADHD, enuresis and encopresis. Do discuss bedwetting or stooling problems with your child’s health care provider.
This study made no suggestion as to why this happens. The good news is that children who have ADHD can get to dryness just like kids without attention problems. Bedwetting alarms work for kids with ADHD.
3 Things to Help You Be Successful When Using a Bedwetting Alarm:
-Choose a time to start using an alarm when medication is already adjusted, things are going well at school and at home and your child is ready to take steps to curtail bedwetting.
-Patience is important when using an alarm. Discuss expectations with your child. It can take many weeks to become completely dry, but the effort is worth the permanent dryness that can be achieved.
-Medication may or may not affect your child’s sleep patterns. Discuss the dosing schedule with your doctor.