Dr Catherine
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8-15 years

My older teen has nf1 and has his sleep disrupted by frequent nite time bathroom usage both poo and wee and wakes up at 3 am unable to go back to sleep.

It is not unusual for children with developmental delays to develop nighttime continence somewhat later than the usual age range. The majority of these children do outgrow this on their own. However given how disrupted his sleep has become, the sooner we find a solution the better! Recent research points to the absence of ADH (antidiuretic hormone) as a cause of nighttime wetting/output - children without ADH produce four times the amount of urine as those who have the hormone and are therefore at a greater likelihood of ‘overfilling’ their bladder at night. In general, we find that children stop wetting at night when their bodies become better able at storing the urine overnight. If you are at all concerned about his bladder capacity you can have this checked by his GP. This is usually done by having your son drink, and then measuring his urine output when he says he needs to go to the toilet. Given his age and the fact that he needs to empty his bladder and bowels so frequently, I would recommend following this up with his GP. Some children who experience encopresis (uncontrolled soiling) may benefit from restricting certain foods from their diet. There are a number of ways you can try and determine whether food intolerances are contributing to his nighttime bladder/bowel habits. The easiest (and safest) approach would be to visit a Naturopath. They may recommend you begin an elimination diet, removing all foods from his diet that could be affecting his bedwetting, then you carefully reintroduce the foods, one at a time. It is always important to remember, each child is unique and what works for one does not necessarily work for all. All the best!Regards, Dr Cathrine