Bedwetting in Teens and Special Needs Children
Being a teenager is hard-school; friends, peer pressure, and grades are just few things that can make life topsy-turvy for a teenager, and life just gets harder if he or she is a bedwetting teenager. If you are a parent of a bedwetting teenager, chances are you must have tried many things. But here we offer you a quick study of most common causes and some simple solutions.
What Could be the Cause?
- It’s Hereditary: Bedwetting runs in the family and the teen might have inherited it.
- Small Bladder: Some bedwetting teenagers have small bladders (according to children’s health network “normally teen size is 12 to 16 ounces of urine”) that cannot hold large amount of urine.
- Deep Sleepers: Some bedwetting teenagers sleep so deeply that they don’t recognize the signal from the bladder to urinate
- Hormones: Some teens produce much more urine during sleep in comparison to their peers because of the lack of antidiuretic hormone. The hormone basically reduces the amount of urine produced.
- Physical Issues: Bedwetting could be a result of constipation or unitary tract infection.
- Lifestyle: In some cases lifestyle choices also contribute to bedwetting. For e.g. if your teen takes too much fluid before bedtime particularly sugary and caffeinated drinks.
What’s the Solution?
- Follow a Routine: Have your bedwetting teen empty his or her bladder before going to bed. Confirm with them before going to bed or set a reminder on his or her phone.
- Limited Fluid intake: Some studies suggest taking less fluids before bed time might help. Particularly avoid caffeinated drinks. According to Web MD “Caffeine whether in food or drink, acts as a diuretic, meaning that it stimulates the bladder to produce more urine. So, one bed-wetting solution many experts recommend is to avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.”
Keep a check every time your young teenager picks up a can of cola, or an energy drink or fills up his or her mug with tea or coffee because all of them contain caffeine. However, don’t ban these completely from your child’s diet. Let him or her enjoy these drinks in earlier part of the day.
- Invest in a Moisture Alarm: Bedwetting Alarms are reported to be most effective treatment for primary nocturnal enuresis (nighttime bedwetting). Most modern enuresis alarms are extremely moisture sensitive (like the Chummie Premium bedwetting alarm system that comes with a sensor that can detect urine from the very first drop), compact and lightweight.
The moisture sensitive sensor of the alarm triggers the alarm once it detects urine and gradually, establishes a connection between the brain and the bladder so that your bedwetting teen begins to recognize the need to urinate in night.
- Medication: You can have your doctor suggest a medicine. Medicine may address any physical issue such as too much urine being produced at night. If your teen’s body is not secreting enough anti-diuretic hormone his or her pediatrician might prescribe a medication.
Helping With Special Needs Kids
Special needs children with physical and intellectual disabilities might experience a delay in bladder and bowel control, which might result in bedwetting. According to Nature Reviews Urology, “Nocturnal enuresis, daytime urinary incontinence, lower urinary tract symptoms and faecal incontinence are more common in children with special needs than in typically developing children.”
Children without any special needs gain bladder and bowel day control when they are closer to 1.8 to 4 years of age, and usually achieve night control between 2 to 5 years of age. Encouraging a special needs child to achieve bowel and bladder control will allow the child to be more independent and confident.
Help your child achieve day time bladder control first. Watch out for following signs to ensure that your child is ready for day time control.
- Your child shows the urge to use the restroom.
- Your child demonstrates the ability to hold on for brief moments before reaching the restroom.
- Your child can find the toilet and understands its purpose.
- Your child can pull down his or her underpants, sit on and get off the toilet seat independently.
- Your child know pulls up his or her underpants.
- Your child shows the ability to flush the toilet and wipe himself or herself.
- Finally, your child can wash and dry his or her hands.
If your child is showing first few signs of day time bladder control, encourage him or her to achieve the next milestones for day time bladder control. Once your child achieves day time dryness you can start helping him or her accomplish night time dryness. You can try out a bedwetting alarm system that combines sound, vibration and lights, such as the Chummie Premium for nighttime or day time bedwetting.
Most insurances cover the cost of an enuresis alarm system, so don’t worry about the cost. Enuresis alarm systems consist of a moisture sensitive sensor that triggers of the alarm unit once it detects wetness. Depending your child’s need you can choose from a wired, wireless or bell and pad type of alarm unit.
However, until your child is reliably dry, use waterproof bedding overlay along with the alarm to protect the mattress. As you develop and try different options to achieve daytime or night time dryness be patient and supportive, and most of all refrain from any punishments.