When it comes to kids and bedwetting, odds are pretty good that no one winds up happy. The kid is unhappy for obvious reasons, and the parents are unhappy for…obvious reasons. Potty training during the day is tricky enough for everyone involved, but nighttime brings even more challenges. Sometimes, whether or not the child makes it through the night and wakes up dry depends on how much water he or she had in the hours just before bed. Other times, it just happens, and there’s nothing parents or children could’ve done in advance to avoid it. And, of course, a certain amount of bedwetting just comes with the territory of being a kid and learning how to control your bladder overnight. However, if bedwetting becomes a persistent, lingering problem, there is help available.
“The International Children’s Continence Society (ICCS) estimates that enuresis, or bedwetting, affects approximately 15 percent of girls and 22 percent of boys. That accounts for between five and seven million children in the United States,” said Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation physical therapist and certified pelvic rehabilitation practitioner Candace Jarrett. “Just to add some further statistics, 10 percent of children ages 6 and older continue to wet the bed. And it’s not just smaller kids – ICCS estimates that between one and three percent of 18-year-olds actually wet the bed, as well. Bedwetting can be due to a variety of factors, including genetics, upper airway obstruction, constipation, a diet consisting of bladder irritants, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bladder dysfunction and overall toilet-training difficulties,” she explained. “There can be other factors to consider, as well, if the child experiences periods of bedwetting after having demonstrated the ability to control his or her bladder overnight for a time,” she added.
While it can have a variety of causes, Jarrett says the effects of bedwetting are consistent. “What is important for parents to remember is that bedwetting on its own, is not an illness, and its impacts can be far more psychological than physical,” she said. “When we talk about the lingering effects of bedwetting, we’re usually looking at things like shame, anger and poor self-esteem, along with general feelings of failure and frustration. These can impact a kid’s entire childhood if not properly addressed. If your child is still having episodes of bedwetting beyond age 6, I would recommend seeking treatment, particularly if the child has never really experienced any consistently dry nights,” she explained. “As a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic health, I can help with things like changing behaviors, finding bowel-related issues, bladder training and biofeedback, as well as offer support to both the child and parents,” she added.
For more information about pelvic health physical therapy for children, contact Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation at 865-980-5089.