Dr Catherine
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8-15 years

My daughter is 11 and has had regular periods since 9. She has hips, breasts and the body of a woman. Yet she still wets the bed most nights. We have tried the alarm. And it worked when she was 9. She was dry for about a year. Then we experience some emotional trauma and it started again. We got the alarm again and she couldn't wake up. Even when I woke her, she could wake up. She would look at me but couldn't understand me. It was so disturbing. Even her friend didn't wake to to alarm. And it was incredibly loud. She is taking minirin for sleepovers and camp but what can I do for all the other nights? Can I keep giving her minirin? Her mattress is wrecked yet again and we are about to travel for 2 months and I can't have her sleep in hotel beds like this.

Dear Jacqui, I think you need to adopt two different approaches here – one which will help you manage her bedwetting in the short-term and the other, which is designed to help her to become permamently dry at night. In the short-term I would recommend continuing with the Minirin, while this approach is unlikely to help her to achieve permanent continence, it will allow you to travel without having the added burden and stress of dealing with wet sheets. I would also take a supply of DryNites just as ‘back-up’. The challenges you have experienced with the alarm are not uncommon; it is not unusual for children who take longer to achieve continence to return to bedwetting (as your daughter did) at times of stress. The fact that she has been dry is a really encouraging sign and a great indicator that her bladder is capable of storing urine overnight or she can wake-up in response to a full bladder. The alarm does continue to experience the best outcomes however it can take up to 3 cycles for it to work, so do not give up just yet. One of the major problems associated with this form of treatment is the fact that many children initially do not wake in response to the alarm - particularly if they are very sound sleepers like your daughter. Parents usually hear the alarm first, it is important that you respond and wake her so that she learns to turn the alarm off by herself and go to the toilet, even if she has already wet. It may be helpful to get your daughter to practice setting the alarm off during the day (with a drop of water) so that way she will become familiar to the sound of the alarm. It may be worthwhile testing a different form of alarm (some have a vibrating option) if the particular one you have does not appear to be effective. It is important that she does not become overtired as this will make it even more difficult for her to wake in response to the alarm. It would also be worthwhile (when you return from your trip), approaching treatment with the support of a continence advisor as this will certainly increase your chances of experiencing a successful outcome. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine