Dr Catherine
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8-15 years

Hi Gregory - Having a teenager who continues to struggle with bedwetting can be incredibly challenging for both you and them. The most important thing in the short-term is to ensure your son’s nighttime incontinence does not impact negatively on his self-esteem. Help him to separate this uncontrolled bodily function from his true self. You do not mention in your question what strategies you have already employed to help your son to achieve nighttime continence. The best approach to the treatment of bedwetting is the conditioning alarm, with approximately 75% of individuals achieving continence following treatment. Bedwetting alarms work by setting off an alarm when your son starts to wet, waking him up so that he gets up and goes to the toilet. Over a period of time this conditions the body into recognizing the signs of a full bladder, your son will eventually learn to wake on his own without the need for the alarm. For some people it can take up to 3 cycles of treatment so it is important not to give up if it at first it does not seem to work. The success of the alarm increases when introduced with the support of an experienced continence advisor. You can contact the Continence Foundation of Australia (1800 330 066) who should be able to recommend someone in your area. There are some more alternative methods that have met with different degrees of success. Please keep in mind however that these have not received the same level of research support as conditioning alarms or medications. Hypnotherapy has been successfully used to help individuals either hold their urine overnight or wake up and go to the toilet. This can be used on its own or in combination with the conditioning alarm. Your best point of contact for hypnotherapy is the Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association http://www.ahahypnotherapy.org.au/, which has branches in each state. They also have a free advisory line: 1800 067 557. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine