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My 8-year-old daughter is wetting the bed

My 8-year-old daughter is wetting the bed most nights. She is a heavy sleeper and seldom wakes easily.

QUESTION:

I have stopped her drinking an hour before bedtime and insist on going to the toilet before lights out.

I tried waking her two hours after bed but can take 15 minutes to get her up. She is uncooperative, tired and understandably difficult. She urinates when taken to the toilet but she still wakes between 3am and 5am with a wet bed. The wetness wakes her only after her bladder is empty.

I am now leaving her to wake herself up. This can mean changing the bed twice a night.

I am concerned broken sleep will affect her energy levels and tiredness during the school day. She is very self-conscious and starting to feel embarrassed.

I am so confused as I have been given conflicting advice. I have been told that if by this age they are still battling then I am to take her off to a doctor, which would be my last resort.

ANSWER: 

Bedwetting is a common and often distressing problem for both children and parents. There are many causes. While most children ‘grow out of it’, some persist into the teenage years and a few into adulthood. The important issue is to identify any cause which we can remove, for example infection or an over-active bladder. For a number there may be an underlying stress factor such as parental or child violence, fear eg starting or changing school, bullying at school or some social group. There are also rare but often treatable spinal cord problems in the back such as spina bifida. Special counselling and certain medications may also help and this is why it is important to get a medical check.

The doctor will need to know additional information such as: When did it start? Is she ever dry? If so, for how long? Is she dry during the day? Can you identify any stress factors such as fear?

If all of the above are excluded, the Panel recommends the use of a bed-wetting machine, which is the most effective means of producing a cure. Your doctor can tell you where you may obtain one.

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