Bedwetting in Children: Understanding the Urinary System
Why children wet the bed
Almost seven million children older than toilet training years wet the bed, one in every three children ages four or five wets the bed, and one in 10 boys still have a problem by age 12, according to Dr. Mark Stengler, N.D., author of “Your Vital Child: A Natural Healing Guide for Caring Parents.”
“The reasons for bedwetting may be physical or behavioral. The child’s bladder may be too small or underdeveloped, making it impossible to hold urine throughout the entire night,” say Dr. Stengler.
“I heard from my friends that it just takes boys longer to control their bladder and make it through the night. But since he was doing so well and all of a sudden started wetting the bed, we can’t explain it,” says Fiedler.
According to The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), many more boys than girls wet the bed and bedwetting runs in families. In many cases, bedwetting is caused by the development of the child’s bladder control being slower than normal.
There are also a variety of emotional reasons that can lead to unexplained bedwetting, according to AACAP. If a child starts wetting the bed after several months or years of staying dry during the night, it may be caused by new fears or insecurities. Episodes of bedwetting may follow changes in the child’s life that make him feel insecure: moving to a new place or school, losing a loved one or the arrival of a new baby, to name a few.
Dr. Stengler agrees that bedwetting may be triggered by a scary or stressful incident, but that these incidents tend to be temporary.
“We thought our son might be too scared to get out of bed at night on his own, so we put a light in the bathroom that is connected to his bedroom to see if that would help with his sudden episodes of wetting the bed,” says Fiedler.
The AACAP also indicates that sometimes bedwetting occurs after a period of dryness because the child’s original toilet training was too stressful.
“We do wonder if we pushed him too early because most boys take longer to potty train. For our next son, we’ll keep him in Pull-ups as long as he wants because you can’t go back after that,” says Fiedler.
“Children may slip up and wet the bed occasionally, but a doctor should examine your child if he consistently wakes up in the middle of the night thirsty, complains of a backache, stomachache or fever, or experiences pain during urination,” says Dr. Stengler.
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