After a night’s sleep, you look forward to seeing a brightly smiling child in the morning. However, seeing them wake up in drenched clothes with embarrassment and frustration on their faces makes for a rough start to both of your days.
Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) refers to a lack of bladder control during sleep after an age when a person is expected to stay dry by night. Although bedwetting may be overwhelming for parents and children, there is generally no need to be worried or embarrassed. You must, however, consult a pediatrician to know the exact cause of bedwetting in your seven-year-old child.
About 15% of 7-year-old children have this issue. Some may even have bedwetting continued in teenage or adulthood. If your 7-year-old child is still bedwetting, do not blame your parenting because it is not a sign of poor potty training. Generally, it is not caused by serious medical or emotional issues.
Do not be embarrassed, but do discuss this issue with your child’s pediatrician to find and treat the root cause of bedwetting. Often, it is seen that if parents, uncles, or aunts wet the bed when they are young, it is quite likely that the child will also have the issue.
Although most children have complete bladder control by the age of 5 years, some may take a bit longer. If your 7-year-old child still wets the bed, consult a pediatrician. Some of the factors that may be causing bedwetting are described below.
No one knows for sure what causes bedwetting, but various factors may play a role, including:
- A family history of bedwetting
- Having a small bladder that cannot hold urine during sleep
- Difficulties in waking up from sleep
- Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- A problem in the nerves responsible for bladder control
- Urinary tract infection (UTI, which may also have other symptoms such as burning or painful urination and frequent urination)
- Deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH, a hormone that reduces urine formation at night. An insufficient amount of ADH can cause bedwetting).
- Presence of stress or anxiety
- Obstructive sleep apnea (a condition in which breathing may cease momentarily during sleep) due to conditions such as extreme obesity, enlarged tonsils, or glands in the neck
- Diabetes (It may be associated with other symptoms such as increased appetite, increased urine frequency, increased thirst, and weight loss.)
- Chronic (long-term) constipation
- Structural abnormalities of the urinary tract such as abnormal urethral valves in boys or ureter in both genders
- Abnormalities in the central nervous system (CNS) (brain and spinal cord) such as slower than normal development of the CNS or abnormalities in the spinal cord
Timely consulting your doctor can help you manage your child’s bedwetting issue more effectively. You must understand that it is neither your nor your child’s fault if they wet the bed. Reassure them that it is a normal part of the development and will go away with time.
Ask them to wash their genital area well and change into clean clothes. Apply soothing cream to prevent rash. Do not yell at or insult your child. This may worsen the situation. Your child is not doing it deliberately, so punishing your child for bedwetting is not a good idea either.
When your child stays dry by night, praise and encourage them. You may even give them small rewards such as their favorite fruit, stickers, or a book.
Remind them to go to the bathroom before going to bed. Using moisture or bedwetting alarms may also help.
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