"My son is too old to wet his bed." "My daughter should have outgrown the habit by now." Yes, I am referring to the everyday laments of parents, whose sons/daughters have reached their teenage and still, wetting bed at night is persistent in them. For parents, it becomes a cause of concern and for the teens, a moment of embarrassment. Bedwetting is a health disorder and is medically known as nocturnal enuresis. This problem affects 1 or 2 out of every 100 teens. Unable to control pee is a totally involuntary action. The phenomenon is considered to be normal till the age of 3 as the urinary sphincter becomes fully active after crossing that age. However, nocturnal enuresis at teenage is of medical concern that needs diagnosis and treatment.
The nerves of the urinary bladder of a normal person send a message to the brain when the bladder is full with urine. The brain returns a signal to the bladder to empty it automatically. That's the process of normal urination. Nocturnal enuresis is of two types, primary and secondary. The former is an adaptation since birth, while the secondary enuresis is induced at a certain age due to health factors and other reasons.
Urinary Bladder Problem
Sometimes, the urinary bladder doesn't mature completely even if the child has reached teenage. Small bladders are not capable of holding a large volume of urine. Intermittent muscle spasms also prevent the retention of urine for long and hence, involuntary urination takes place at night.
The antidiuretic hormone or ADH is known to control the rate of urination at night. Teenagers, who are deficient of this hormone, face problems of frequent nocturnal urination that is not under the control of their will.
This can also be a hereditary problem. Parents, who have faced the same problem during their teenage, might pass it on to their children. There are certain genes that are responsible for this hereditary condition.
It can also be due to psychological problems, associated with mental torture (at school or home) and family problems. Children who have seen the death of family members, interpersonal fights and divorce, can also be a victim of enuresis, when they become teenagers.
Medical conditions are responsible for secondary enuresis. Health disorders like childhood diabetes, constipation, and urinary tract infections trigger this problem in teenagers. One other condition assumed by doctors is, severe stretching of the spinal cord due to an injury.
How to Stop It
This phenomenon, sometimes, goes away with age, while at other times, it remains till adolescence. Therefore, early diagnosis of the problem is a must. Doctors usually carry out a diagnosis based on urine analysis and other physical examinations. A complete medical history of the patient is presented before the doctor, so that he is able to find out the exact reason behind the problem. Then, a suitable treatment is initiated. Certain habits, if practiced at home, can bring about a change in the psyche of the teenagers and help to cure the bedwetting problem. Some of them are mentioned below:
Food and Drink Before Going to Bed
You sleep so deeply that you do not feel the urge to pee. Avoid foods that can irritate the bladder. Do not consume caffeine before going to sleep. Coffee, tea, aerated drinks, and sodas are not allowed for teenagers, who wet bed at night. Similarly, keep off from water for a few hours before going to sleep.
A Dry Imagery
Just imagine yourself dry. This is one of the hypnotic cures to stop bedwetting. This technique is also known as 'positive imagery' associated with imagining oneself waking up dry, just like the way he went to sleep. Pee off before going to bed and then start thinking, that the new day will be a dry one.
Even doctors say that bedwetting alarm is a wonderful solution for nocturnal enuresis. They are devised to be worn inside your underwear. As soon as the bed starts getting wet, the buzzer starts ringing. You wake up immediately with the alarm. Though not an instant solution, you can eventually train yourself to wake up before the bell starts ringing.
Medications usually regulate the activity of the hormone ADH. The generic drug has a composition of Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) that enhances the secretion of the hormone ADH. This drug is available in the form of pills or nasal sprays. Administration of this drug depends on other health related disorders. Medications vary, if the cause of this problem is any other health disorder.
Bedwetting in older children can be cured completely with medications, however, it should be the last resort. Make an effort to increase your level of consciousness while sleeping. Cultivate positive thoughts before going to bed to overcome the damp sensation after waking up.