Bedwetting treatments

My daughter is five-and-a-half and cannot stay dry at night. Any suggestions, other than taking her to the bathroom, limiting drinks in the evening and rewarding her attempts to get up and go?

Although most children stop wetting the bed between the ages of two and four, 10-15% of children are still wetting the bed after 4-5 years of age. Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) is more common in boys than in girls and tends to run in families.

Primary nocturnal enuresis refers to the condition in which a child has never been dry at night for any period of time (weeks or months). It most often reflects a maturational delay in the child’s own system of waking at night when the bladder feels full. Parents often describe these children as “deep sleepers” and, in fact, they are! A general physical examination and urinalysis will confirm that these children are perfectly healthy.

The prognosis for primary enuresis is excellent:15% of affected children spontaneously outgrow their bedwetting every year. For those who want to do something in the meantime, the most effective “therapy” is the bell and pad alarm system, an inexpensive device worn at night, that wakens the child with an alarm-clock-like buzz when the first drops of urine wet the pad.

A child with secondary nocturnal enuresis, that is a child who had been completely dry at night for a period of weeks, months or even years, and then starts to wet the bed, should be seen by his/her pediatrician. New-onset bedwetting can be the first sign of a health problem such as a urinary tract infection or diabetes.

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