Stress and bedwetting

July 22, 2009 by  
Filed under STRESS

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kid-in-bedThere is nothing more stressful for children and their parents than the problem of bedwetting or enuresis in medical terms. It is also a childhood problem that is embarrassing, and unlike food allergies and asthma, is almost always kept private.

So what causes bedwetting?

There are medical explanations for bedwetting, including late maturation or deformity of the urinary bladder, urinary tract infections, sleeping disorders, hormonal problems (low anti-diuretic hormone levels), and take note – genetics. However, these account for only 3% of cases of bedwetting.

The majority of cases are actually more of psychological rather than physiological in nature. And psychological stress is the most likely culprit.

Children have different ways of reacting to or coping with stress. Stress is usually brought about by change, and change can be minor (e.g. move to a new residence or a new school) or major (change in family structure such as divorce, loss of a close loved one, etc.)

What is clear is that

Is there something that can be done? Well, the first thing to do is find out the root cause, e.g. what causes the stress. Some sources of stress may not be overt, e.g. bullying at school, problems with the teacher, with schoolwork.

Dr. Howard Bennett is a pediatrician specialized in enuresis and wrote the book Waking Up Dry: A Guide to Help Children Overcome Bedwetting gives the following practical tips:

Bedwetting is a problem that creates a vicious cycle. Stress causes the child to lose nighttime bladder control, causing stress to the parents and additional distress to the child, thus exacerbating the problem. As the child grows older, the problem becomes more socially unacceptable. Sleepovers and camps – these are just a few childhood situations where bedwetting outside the home can cause problems.

According to Dr. Bennett

Because bedwetting gets better on its own, “in the past, doctors often said to parents and kids, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ‘But if it’s causing anxiety or social problems, it’s important to know there are things families can do to make the situation better.”


Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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