By: Elias Wehbi, M.D., pediatric urologist, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach
About 15 percent of 5-year-olds experience some type of bed-wetting at night. Nocturnal enuresis, or bed-wetting, affects six to eight million American kids ages 5 to 15. Fortunately, the majority of children will become dry at night as they become older. By 15-years-of-age, just one to two percent will still be wetting the bed at night.
Most parents, however, want to help their child stay dry at night long before the teen years to prevent potential self-esteem issues and to allow their child to enjoy sleepovers, camp and similar events. That’s where behavioral changes on part of the parents and child can have excellent results.
At MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, pediatric urologists use diagnostic machines to track velocity and volume of urine.
One common sense approach to preventing accidents at night is to remember that the bladder will not leak if it’s empty. Of course, making sure your child urinates while preparing for bed is the first step. But having them go again just before going to sleep can make a substantial difference.
It’s also important to limit your child’s fluids for up to three hours before sleep. As long as urine production overnight doesn’t exceed the bladder’s capacity, your child will awaken to dry pajamas and bedding.
Barring any medical condition that might need surgical correction or even medication, another element that affects bed-wetting is how much stool a child has in their rectum when they goes to bed.
Miller Children’s & Women’s has one of the few centers in Southern California that can treat medical, surgical and other aspects of bed-wetting.
By eating a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of liquids during the day, and limiting fluid before bedtime can help prevent or eliminate bed-wetting. Success never happens overnight. It takes some time to retrain the body and it requires commitment.
To learn more about enuresis treatment offered at The Larry & Helen Hoag Foundation Pediatric Urology & Nephrology Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s, visit millerchildrens.org/uroneph or call 1.800.MEMORIAL.