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Nocturnal Enuresis: The Bedwetting Demon
For many parents, this is a source of frustration. For children, it can be a devastatingly humiliating experience – far worse than any monsters hiding under their beds or in their closets. I’m talking about nocturnal enuresis or bedwetting. Some children still suffer from this condition when they should be enjoying sleeping and partying. Yet for a child who suffers from involuntary bedwetting, the thought of sleeping above someone’s house is fraught with fear that his or her “secret” will be exposed.
The cause of nocturnal enuresis is not exactly known, however studies have shown that the number of children suffering from this condition is between 5-7 million. Nocturnal refers to nighttime, so nocturnal enuresis is bedwetting that occurs during the night. It is also classified as children who involuntarily wet the bed when the potty training years are well past. The occurrence of nocturnal enuresis is more common in boys than in girls.
Conditions indicating the existence of nocturnal enuresis
If your child wets the bed once, it does not necessarily indicate nocturnal enuresis. Here are some factors doctors look at when diagnosing bedwetting.
First, the doctor will need to determine whether nocturnal enuresis or involuntary bedwetting is frequent and recurrent. If the child has episodes at least 2 times a week, for at least three weeks, then this indicates nocturnal enuresis.
Doctors will also take the child’s medical history. In diagnosing nocturnal enuresis, the process is based on “ruling out” other medical conditions to determine what may be the underlying cause. The diagnosis part of the history will address questions about medications the child may be taking, urinary tract infections, bladder and spinal cord abnormalities, diabetes, and certain seizure disorders. Another factor the doctor will consider is whether there is a family history of nocturnal enuresis.
Nocturnal enuresis: causes
These questions help determine the presence of nocturnal enuresis. Although the cause is more of a puzzle than a simple lab test, there are certain signs that contribute to the cause of nocturnal enuresis. For example, childhood stress such as death, divorce, or a significant change can trigger nocturnal enuresis. Delayed or delayed growth and development can also cause nocturnal enuresis. If the bladder is too small, this will also contribute. Some children just have a hard time sleeping and won’t wake up. Although some medications can cause a child to wet the bed, this does not constitute nocturnal enuresis. When the course of prescribed medication is finished, the bedwetting problem stops.
What can be done about nocturnal enuresis?
For centuries, the number one step parents took to prevent nocturnal enuresis was to discipline the child. This led to a huge misconception of what bedwetting was and left society with the view that it was “bad behavior” on the part of the child. Parental education is absolutely necessary for the treatment of this condition and imperative for the child’s emotional well-being. A child does not wet the bed on purpose to anger the parents, and parents need to be informed of the positive and helpful steps they can take to encourage their children with gentle guidance and kindness.
If nocturnal enuresis is the result of a medical condition, then treatment can be started according to the medicine that corresponds to that condition.
For sound sleepers, using a bedwetting alarm can be a solution. The alarm will go off and the child is essentially being “trained” to wake up and use the toilet. Your doctor will instruct you on the proper use of the bedwetting alarm. If the condition is caused by slow growth, usually no special treatment is needed, once the child grows up, nocturnal enuresis should stop.
Regardless of what you think may be the cause of nocturnal enuresis; you should take your child to a family doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Copyright © 2006 Jared Winston. All rights reserved.
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