Bedwetting may be a common occurrence in households across the country, but common does not mean normal.
The biggest thing you need to know is that a child does not purposefully wet the bed. You cannot punish orscare your child, but it may worsen the problem.
The next thing to know is that the most common reason children wet the bed at night is due to what they are eating and drinking.
Diet is Linked to Bedwetting
“Nocturnal enuresis may be linked to dietary allergies that provoke bladder instability.” –Dr. Douglas N.Tietjen, M.D., and Douglas A.Husmann, M.D. from the Department of Urology at the Mayo Clinic.
Their study concluded that all stopped bed-wetting when they began food-restricted diets, and the wetting re-occurred when they resumed regular diets.
Could Your Child’s Diet be the Problem?
- digestive problems
- bloated belly
- skin rashes or hives
- stuffy or runny nose
- dark circles under the eyes
- night sweats
- red ears
- red cheeks
- bumps on the back of the arms
- frequent colds/illnesses
All of these ailments are linked to food sensitivities (or allergies), and they may be to blame for the bedwetting. Typically, the foods your child reaches for the most (processed foods, sugar, gluten, dairy) are to blame, but not always. Talk to your doctor about IgE and IgG testing to find out specifically what’s triggering issues or follow an elimination diet like Feingold or GAPS. Make sure to keep a food journal to link any reactions to specific foods!
Other Possible Bedwetting Causes
Enuresis is a condition in which the child has the loss of bladder control. Nocturnal Enuresis is known as “bed-wetting” because it happens during the night. Approximately 5 to 7 million children wet the bed, with boys more so than girls.
The most important thing to note is that there is a cause to bedwetting. While there is more than one possibility, there is a specific reason your child is wetting the bed; and stubbornness or defiance are not options.
Most research has proven that bed-wetting isn’t caused by drinking too much liquid before bedtime. It’s not a psychological problem. It’s not because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.
According to Research, Possible Causes Include:
- Genetics: Bedwetting tends to run in families
- Overactive Bladder Syndrome: When the muscles that control the bladder spasm and trigger urine to leak out.
- Small Bladder Capacity: A smaller bladder needs to be emptied more, but the child should wake to empty it.
- Medications: Certain medications cause frequent urination or a deeper sleep, meaning the child will not wake up to go to the bathroom.
- Hormones: Low levels of the hormone Vasopressin (which regulates urine production) cause the kidneys to produce too much urine for the bladder to hold – OR not enough antidiuretic hormone; this hormone reduces the amount of urine made by the kidneys.
- Nervous System: The nerves attached to the bladder may not be fully developed. This can cause a weakened signal to the brain causing the child not to wake up.
- Fears: Being scared of the dark or other nighttime fears may keep your child in bed and scared to leave for the bathroom.
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys
- Abnormalities in the spinal cord
- Constipation: If the bowels become blocked, it places pressure on the bladder and triggers bedwetting.
- Stimulating Beverages: sodas, teas, and caffeinated beverages may stimulate an increase in urine.
How to Help
- Do not voice your frustration or place blame on your child. You may cause the problem to get worse.
- Make sure your child uses the bathroom before bed.
- Keep a small potty-training potty next to his bed so he knows he has something close by to use if the bathroom is too far, the hall is too dark, or he’s too tired to walk that far.
- Keep the mattresses protected with waterproof covers. Go one step forward and add another waterproof layer on top of the fitted sheet that can be removed in the middle of the night without having to strip the entire bed.
- Chiropractic Care: If the bedwetting is caused by nerve interference from the spine, chiropractic care will help. Several studies show that manipulating and adjusting the spine can eliminate bedwetting.
- Behavior therapy: A treatment that doesn’t use medicine.
- Motivational therapy: positive reinforcement and reward systems to help your child keep track of his progress.
- Behavior conditioning: This therapy uses an alarm. The alarm rings or vibrates when your child first begins to wet the bed.
- Diet Change: Following an elimination diet and removing trigger foods, typically processed items, those containing dyes and toxins, gmo’s, and/or general items that hurt your child’s gut may eliminate all bed wetting.
Note: Your doctor may offer medicine if your child is seven years old or older, and if behavior therapy and diet changes haven’t worked. But medicines aren’t a cure for bed-wetting! Remember that medicines may have side effects.
These medicines work in two ways:
- One kind of medicine helps the bladder hold more urine
- The other kind helps the kidneys make less urine.
Solving the root of the problem is a much better option.