Dr Catherine
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8-15 years

Hi, I have a 10 yr boy and a 12 yr old boy that wet the bed almost every night. We have tried chiropractors, essential oils, cutting off beverages at 7pm, waking them up in the middle of he night and we are running out if patience. We try very hard to be understanding but it's time to be done with it all. Any suggestions?

Hi Crystal - it must be incredibly frustrating and distressing having tried so many different forms of treatment with no apparent success. I’m assuming you have already been to see a doctor – if this was some time ago it may be worth scheduling a follow-up appointment to discuss your progress as well as to ask for a referral to a continence specialist. Unfortunately we are still a bit in the dark when it comes to having a complete understanding of the multiple causes of bedwetting. While many children wet the bed because of an immature nervous system or a small bladder – others have been known to do so as a result of food allergies or other underlying medical causes. It is worth asking for a full medical assessment just to rule these out. I see that the conditioning alarm does not appear in your list of treatments; the best outcomes are currently achieved with conditioning alarms. Conditioning alarms work by helping your sons learn to recognise the need to pass urine and either wake-up and go to the toilet or learn to hold on until morning. They come in two main forms. One is a body alarm with a small sensor that can be worn inside their DryNites. The second type of alarm is a bell and pad alarm that is placed like a mat over the bottom bed sheet of their bed. It may take a few weeks until they begin to respond to the alarm and can take up to 3 months to achieve continence. Before commencing any form of treatment you first need to meet with your GP. If your local GP is not familiar with treating children’s nighttime incontiennce, ask to be referred to someone who is. The more professional support you receive during this time the more likely your sons will achieve nighttime continence. Some parents have experienced success by combining different treatment options – I know of a number of cases where children have achieved nighttime dryness by combining the conditioning alarm with hypnotherapy. In the meantime, what is most crucial is supporting your sons so that the bedwetting does not impact negatively on their self-esteem. Parental understanding is one of the most important factors in helping children manage their bedwetting. Keep reminding them that the bedwetting is not their fault and even though it may not seem like it at the moment, it is something they will out grow. It is important not to let their bedwetting interfere with social opportunities like sleepovers and school camps as this will only impact negatively on their self-confidence. Regards, Dr Cathrine