If your child experiences both ADHD and bedwetting symptoms, you’re not alone. Population based studies show that 20-30% of children that experience bedwetting also experience disorders such as ADHD. Daytime incontinence is also relatively common in children with externalising disorders.
ADHD and Bedwetting
Helpful tips on managing bedwetting
The best cure for bedwetting is time and patience, but luckily there are plenty of methods and tools you can use to manage bedwetting in the meantime. Bedwetting products, as well as a few simple lifestyle changes, can help you and your child get through this time together. Let’s take a look at your options now. Bedwetting products are going to be the bedwetting management tools that make your life a whole lot easier. DryNites® Night Time Pants and disposable BedMats are great for giving your child some extra confidence and a solid night sleep. Not to mention the fact that sleepovers become a non-issue. Other helpful products on the market include waterproof sheets and mattress protectors. Bladder training exercises are another option, though keep in mind that only time is really going to give your child full bladder capacity. The idea here is to ask your child to hold their urine for 10 to 15 minutes after they need to go during the day. Having a set bedtime routine can also go a long way toward helping your child to develop night time control. Start getting ready for bed at the same time every night and make sure your child uses the bathroom before they get under the sheets. Keep a stash of DryNites®, as well as some spare sheets and PJs close by. If your child dislikes navigating to the bathroom in the dark, set up a nightlight path to the bathroom so they have no troubles. Finally, making some changes to your child’s diet can be a great help, particularly if they ever suffer from constipation (which can be a cause of bedwetting). Ban sugary drinks, as well as chocolate and any snacks containing caffeine after dinner time. If your child is experiencing some constipation, load up their diet with whole grains, natural Greek yoghurt, and fruits, such as pears, plums, and apples. Last but not least, always make sure your child is staying hydrated with water throughout the day and night. Dehydration can often make bedwetting worse.Read transcript +
How are they linked?
It’s still not entirely clear why so many children with ADHD have this issue. It may be because both conditions are associated with a delay in the development of the central nervous system, or possibly because children with ADHD have a more difficult time paying attention to their bodily cues.
What can I do?
The treatment for bedwetting in children with ADHD is largely the same as any other, with some minor adjustments. Seeing the doctor is important when ADHD and bedwetting exist together, especially before prescribing medication, as some medications may clash.
Since children with ADHD often have problems with organisation and concentration, you may find yourself needing to prioritise symptoms in order to accommodate your child’s shorter attention span. If your child has a variety of behavioural difficulties, it can be impossible to address them all at once. Whenever you decide to treat your child’s nocturnal enuresis, you may have to back off with some other behavioural goals to avoid being overwhelmed.
There is some suggestion that children with ADHD are more resistant to treatment, so don’t be too put off if things are slow going. Bedwetting is a phase that many children go through and recover from.
Your own health
Caring for a child with ADHD is no small feat. Combining that responsibility with symptoms of nocturnal enuresis often results in increased challenges and upsetting circumstances for children and parents alike. How you respond to these challenges can have a big impact on your child, who may already feel bad. With this in mind, it’s worth considering that looking after yourself is often one of the best ways to look after others.
Reach out to family and friends for support when you need it. Take breaks whenever you can, like when your child is at day-care, at school or on a trip. Talk to other parents with children that have ADHD, and find out what works for them. Whatever you can do to maintain good mental health, go for it.