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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam


Bedwetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis, is a common condition that affects many children and, occasionally, adults. While it can be a source of frustration and embarrassment, understanding the causes, treatment options, and supportive strategies can help manage and eventually overcome this condition.

What is Bedwetting?

Bedwetting refers to involuntary urination during sleep after the age at which staying dry at night can be reasonably expected. This typically applies to children aged five and older. There are two types of bedwetting:

Primary Bedwetting: This occurs when a child has never had a significant dry period. It is often due to developmental factors and is the most common form.

Secondary Bedwetting: This occurs when a child or adult starts wetting the bed after having been dry for six months or more. It can be triggered by stress, medical conditions, or other underlying issues.

Common Causes

Several factors can contribute to bedwetting, including:

1. Developmental Delays: Some children’s bladders may take longer to develop fully, making it hard for them to hold urine overnight.

2. Genetic Factors: Bedwetting tends to run in families. If one or both parents wet the bed as children, their offspring are more likely to experience it.

3. Deep Sleep: Children who sleep very deeply may not wake up when their bladder is full.

4. Hormonal Factors: The antidiuretic hormone (ADH) helps to slow urine production at night. Some children might not produce enough ADH.

5. Medical Conditions: Issues like urinary tract infections, diabetes, and sleep apnea can cause secondary bedwetting.

6. Emotional Stress: Changes or stressful events, such as moving or starting a new school, can lead to bedwetting.

Diagnosing Bedwetting

To diagnose bedwetting, a healthcare provider will typically:

• Take a detailed medical history.

• Perform a physical examination.

• Possibly recommend urine tests or other investigations to rule out underlying medical conditions.

Treatment Options

Treatment varies based on the individual and the underlying cause. Common approaches include:

1. Behavioral Strategies:

• Bladder Training: Encouraging regular bathroom visits and increasing bladder capacity by delaying urination during the day.

• Bedwetting Alarms: These devices detect moisture and wake the child to use the bathroom.

• Positive Reinforcement: Rewarding dry nights to motivate the child.

2. Medical Treatments:

• Desmopressin: A synthetic hormone that reduces urine production at night.

• Anticholinergic Medications: These help to relax the bladder.

3. Lifestyle Adjustments:

• Fluid Management: Limiting fluid intake in the evening.

• Regular Bathroom Breaks: Ensuring the child empties their bladder before bed.

4. Support and Counseling: Addressing any emotional or psychological factors through counseling or therapy.

Coping Strategies

Living with bedwetting can be challenging, but several strategies can help manage the condition effectively:

• Protective Bedding: Use waterproof mattress covers to protect the bed.

• Routine: Establish a consistent bedtime routine to promote healthy sleep patterns.

• Stay Positive: Encourage a supportive and understanding environment. Avoid punishment or blame, as this can worsen the situation.

• Education: Educate the child about the condition to reduce feelings of shame or guilt.

When to Seek Help

While many children outgrow bedwetting on their own, it’s important to seek medical advice if:

• Bedwetting persists beyond the age of seven.

• It starts suddenly after a period of dryness.

• It is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain during urination or excessive thirst.

Natural Home Remedies

Bedwetting, while common, can be distressing for both children and their families. Many natural home remedies can help manage and potentially reduce the incidence of bedwetting. Here are some tried-and-true methods:

1. Limit Fluid Intake Before Bed

Description: Reducing the amount of fluid your child drinks in the evening can help prevent the bladder from becoming too full overnight.

How to Apply:

• Encourage your child to drink more fluids earlier in the day.

• Limit drinks for at least an hour before bedtime.

• Avoid caffeinated or carbonated beverages as they can increase urine production.

2. Scheduled Bathroom Visits

Description: Establishing a routine of using the bathroom can help train the bladder.

How to Apply:

• Ensure your child goes to the bathroom right before bed.

• If possible, wake your child once during the night to use the bathroom, especially in the early part of the night.

3. Bladder Training Exercises

Description: These exercises can help increase bladder capacity and control.

How to Apply:

• Encourage your child to hold urine for a few minutes longer during the day before going to the bathroom.

• Gradually increase the holding time to help the bladder learn to hold more urine.

4. Monitor Diet

Description: Certain foods and drinks can irritate the bladder and increase urine production.

How to Apply:

• Avoid giving your child caffeine, chocolate, citrus juices, and sugary drinks in the evening.

• Encourage a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

5. Herbal Remedies

Description: Some herbs are believed to help with bladder control and reduce bedwetting.

How to Apply:

• Corn Silk Tea: Known for its diuretic properties, corn silk tea may help. Steep fresh or dried corn silk in boiling water for 10 minutes, strain, and serve cool.

• Cinnamon: Believed to help with bladder control, you can give your child a cinnamon stick to chew or sprinkle cinnamon powder on their food.

6. Positive Reinforcement

Description: Encouraging your child with rewards and praise can boost their confidence and reduce anxiety related to bedwetting.

How to Apply:

• Create a reward chart for dry nights with small incentives.

• Praise your child for their efforts and reassure them that bedwetting is a common issue that can be resolved.

7. Acupressure

Description: Some people find acupressure effective in managing bedwetting.

How to Apply:

• Consult a practitioner to learn specific points that can be massaged to help control bedwetting.

8. Maintain a Calm Environment

Description: Reducing stress and anxiety can have a positive impact on bedwetting.

How to Apply:

• Ensure your child has a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath.

• Create a calming sleep environment with a comfortable bed and a nightlight if needed.

9. Adequate Fiber Intake

Description: Constipation can exacerbate bedwetting by putting pressure on the bladder.

How to Apply:

• Ensure your child eats plenty of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

• Encourage regular bathroom habits to prevent constipation.

10. Encourage Daytime Hydration

Description: Drinking plenty of water during the day can help ensure the bladder is adequately trained to hold larger amounts of urine.

How to Apply:

• Encourage your child to drink water regularly throughout the day.

• Monitor to ensure they are getting enough fluids early on but taper off towards the evening.

Managing bedwetting with natural home remedies requires patience and consistency. Each child is different, so it may take some time to find the right combination of strategies that works best for your child. Remember, bedwetting is a common developmental phase for many children and often resolves with time. If the problem persists or if you have concerns, consult with a doctor to explore further options and ensure there are no underlying medical conditions.

Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist

Kify Hospital



Phone : 85000 23456

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