Keeping Your Child’s Bladder Healthy May Help Eliminate Bedwetting
Bedwetting is involuntary urination while asleep after the age at which bladder control would normally be anticipated. The medical term for this condition is “nocturnal enuresis”. Primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE) is when a child has not yet stayed dry on a regular basis. Secondary nocturnal enuresis (SNE) is when a child or adult begins wetting again after having stayed dry.
Bedwetting is the most common pediatric-health issue. Studies show that parents become worried too quickly because they expect children to stay dry too early.
Most girls can stay dry by age six and most boys stay dry by age seven.
By ten years old, 95% of children are dry at night. Studies place adult bedwetting rates at between 0.5% to 2.3%
Having a healthy bladder can help to manage your child’s bedwetting. There are tips on how to help maintain a healthy bladder in your child.
• Ensure your child has 6-8 drinks each day. Preferably water or milk. Limit sweet and bubbly drinks, especially ones containing caffeine such as cola and chocolate.
• Encourage drinks (mainly water) at regular intervals during the day, spread it out evenly.
• Don’t restrict fluids in the late afternoon or evening. Encourage your child to drink throughout the day.
• Avoid dairy products at night until the nocturnal enuresis subsides then gradually increase these products back into diet. These include Dairy products such as milk, ice cream, cheese, puddings with dairy products etc
• Avoid citrus juices late in the day/early evening as the citric acids can aggravate the bladder contributing to urinary nocturnal enuresis.
• Stop “just in case” visits to the toilet (i.e. before going out). Contrary to popular belief, it is good for children to ‘hold on’ so the bladder learns to store larger amounts of urine.
• Prevent constipation and straining as this can affect how the bladder functions. Increase fiber, vegetables and fruits.
• Don’t lift children when asleep to take them to the toilet when you go to bed or during the night. This may slow the development of the bladder/brain connection in your child.
• Encourage your child to be active and healthy. Exercising has benefits for all parts of their life.
• Provide a well balanced and healthy diet for your children.
Tips for increasing bladder capacity
1. It’s good to have a starting point. So being able to measure your child’s current output is a good place to start. Buy a cheap, large, plastic measuring jug that you keep just for this. Do this over a couple of days so that you get a good idea of their general output.
2. Ask them to hang on for as long as possible and get them to wee into the jug.
3. A good bladder capacity for a child would be around 200-300 ml.
4. If it’s less than this it would be a good idea to start trying to increase their ability to hold on. Check with your doctor before commencing any bladder programs.