Older Kids with Bedwetting

November 09, 2017 2 min read

I was recently interviewed for an article that appeared in The Inquirer Daily News, Philly.com. The author, Courtenay Harris Bond, talked to several experts in the treatment of bedwetting as well as parents.

Dr. Zderic, a world expert on nocturnal enuresis from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) describes a cause of bedwetting in many children is how the bladder sends its message to the brain during sleep. As the bladder fills, its sends sensory information up the spinal cord to the brain.

A bedwetting child may not wake up when his or her bladder is full, especially if the child sleeps deeply and if the nerves to the bladder are slow to mature.

The most common and effective treatment for bedwetting is a bedwetting alarm. Cheryl Tierney, chief for behavior and developmental pediatrics at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, sees a success rate close to 97% when the alarm is coupled with family counseling and education. She explains that night after night, the child's brain starts to figure out, ˜Aha! That is what it feels like when you have a full bladder'.

Medication, such as desmopressin, works by concentrating the urine so that the bladder doesn't fill so completely during the night. It works temporarily in about half the children who take it and is best recommended for special occasions, such as sleepovers and camp.

Amanda Berry, a nurse practitioner at CHOP, reminds us that the child should not be blamed and that it runs in families. She acknowledges that using an alarm is effective, but it is not a quick fix, and that it is a process. Parents should start the alarm when there are not a lot of other things going on in the child's life.

Jeannie, a mother whose 7 year old daughter successfully used a bedwetting alarm to become dry, described how her daughter went from very full pull-ups to dry nights in a couple of months.


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