Q.: My 11 yrs old son has been wetting his bed ever since I can remember. He also has difficulties concentrating in school. We have had many tests done , however our doctor assures us there is nothing wrong, it’s “a primary enuresis” and “he will grow out of it”. Sure, he probably will. However, my son is suffering, he can’t stay overnight at another child's house and go camping without being afraid that he might be discovered. We have tried many things, but they didn’t solve his problem. Finally, our doctor suggested to try Desmopressin. I am reluctant to give such a powerful drug to my child. What does it mean primary enuresis? What is the cause of it? Is there any connection between ADHD and bedwetting? What can be done with homeopathic medicine to help with this problem?
A.: Enuresis is involuntary urination in bed at age of five years or older while asleep when children are expected to stay dry. Before the age of five enuresis is considered to be a part of normal childhood development, as the child learns to control his/her bladder function. Most children achieve this by the ages of 3 to 4 years.
Bedwetting afflicts approximately 15-20% of school age children between the ages of 5 and 16 or older. There is also evidence to show that 2-3% of the adult population still has this problem. Bedwetting affects 1 out of 6 individuals to 16 years of age and affects more boys than girls by about 3 to 1. One of the sources estimates that up to seven million children have nighttime enuresis.
What is it - primary enuresis ? There are two types of enuresis:
1. Primary Enuresis – when bedwetting has always been present. It happens when children have the genetic tendency, and are not able to wake up when the bladder is full.
2. Secondary Enuresis - bedwetting occurring after a reasonable period of being dry (after six months or more).It might be the result of emotional 'up-set' such as the birth of a younger sibling, divorce of parents, or school worries.
What causes enuresis ? Since exact cause of enuresis is still unknown, many factors may contribute to it:
- Delayed growth and development - some children’s nervous system is not mature enough to be able to sense when the bladder is full.
- Hormones - it might be a lower level of antidiuretic hormone, which suppresses the rate of urine production. This means they may make more urine than most people do at night.
- Inherited aspect - children whose parents used to wet the bed are more likely to do so themselves.
- ADHD - attention deficient disorder or having habits of thumb-sucking, and nail-biting.
- Deep sleep - the child is unaware of a full bladder and the bladder works automatically.
- Psychological factors - fears, nightmares, worries, anxiety, indignation, stress, feeling of insecurity.
- Nervous disorders - Injury or disease of the nervous system or spinal column.
- Infections - an infection in the bladder or kidneys may trigger bedwetting.
- Constipation - this can lead to leakage of urine.
- Bladder size - bedwetting may be related to a small bladder size.
- Diet poor in nutrients–low in Calcium and Magnesium foods, and food, causing allergies, like dairy products, citrus fruits, chocolate and foods containing high levels of artificial colors and flavors.
Is there any connection between ADHD and bedwetting?
Yes, researchers have noticed that bedwetting and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder commonly go together. One report suggests that nearly half the children with ADHD also suffer from enuresis. One possibility is that children with ADHD are simply don't wake up enough to know that they should go to the bathroom . In many cases in my practice when hyperactive children sleep abnormally deep, incorrectly and restless , they can wet a bed up to three or four times a night.
Is it a cure for bedwetting ? “The shame of bedwetting is Not Knowing There's Help”
Enuresis is more widespread than we think. Despite the fact that enuresis has been considered a problem for already over 3,000 years, it is seldom talked about and, sadly, comparatively little research has been done on the problem. The earliest known medical literature concerning children is the Papyrus of Ebers - ancient Egyptian records , dating back to 1,550 BC., when parents found bedwetting embarrassing and frustrating. This medical document certified that a mixture of 1 juniper berry and 1 leaf of cypress taken together in 1 glass of beer would stop bedwetting. However, the results were far from reliable.
Homoeopathy, with its dynamic approach, can cure bedwetting wonderfully. First of all a major credit point with Homeopathy is - No side-effects, Secondly - it is sweet and convenient, at all the times and for all ages. Lastly - it not only relieves the condition, but also cures the condition without any persistent usage of drugs or dependency or habit formation. Homeopathy is looking for underlying causes. If the enuresis is caused by emotional turmoil or stress in a child's life, than these issues should be addressed and dealt with in a positive manner.
The results of Homoeopathic treatment through my experience, with bedwetting cases, are far superior to usual ways of treatment with other systems of medicine.
Our special program has been based on individual approach, and includes:
1. Full assessment – child's history, personality, development, and mom's condition during pregnancy.
2. Homeopathic treatment - Bedwetting is totally a treatable condition.
3. Healthy diet and Supplements - an important consideration is food allergies. Allergic reactions can begin within minutes or symptoms can appear days after ingesting the offending substance. Certain foods seem to be more likely to cause or aggravate bedwetting. Eliminating these foods from the diet is the beginning of the successful treatment. The most problem foods are: dairy products (including milk, cheese, ice cream), eggs, wheat, and sugar, soy, yeast.
4. Food allergy blood test – we provide a simple blood test to identify elevated antibodies to foods allergens. It helps to discover what you need to avoid in your child's diet. You'll get a detailed 4 days rotation diet, individually created for your child.
5. Special exercises- to strength muscles.
Tips for parents : A positive approach will make a difference!
Proper parental care is much essential, since the attitude of the parents sometimes might further complicate the condition. Support and reassurance is more important, than blaming and punishing, which can cause a lifetime deficit of self-confidence and self-esteem. Children who wet the bed often feel fear, worthlessness, anxiety, and even depression. They see themselves as different from others and avoid the possible embarrassment that might occur. Overnight school field trips seem out of the question. All these psychological harms are compounded if children don't have support from parents.
- Be kind and patient. Do not get irritated or scold with children since they are do not aware of urination while sleeping. Avoid punishing or scolding the children which may worsen the condition.
- Encourage the children with positive words and rewards to get out of this habit.
- Assure your child that the bedwetting is not her/his fault. It will get better.
- This problem should not be a matter for discussion with relatives or friends, otherwise children may feel guilty and ashamed.
- Better to avoid using of pull-ups or diapers. This can make wetting easier for the child and sends the message that she is still "a baby" and wetting is okay. This can create a Peter Pan complex (don't want to grow up) and affect the self-esteem.
- Have your child use the washroom before he/she gets in bed.
- Regular bowel movement.
- Have your child eat daily servings of leafy green vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, calcium and magnesium; whole grains (such as brown rice and rolled oats), fresh fruit, and proteins with a minimum of animal fat. Avoid sugars (such as in pastries and candy) and refined carbohydrates (such as white bread and white rice). Use fresh food, avoiding prepackaged and processed one.
- Bladder training exercise: while your child is urinating in the bathroom, have him/ her stop midstream 1 or 2 times for a second.
- Herbal tea: you can try dried herbs such as: Cleaver and Horsetail - use a teaspoon of each herb per cup of boiling water. Let steep for 15 minutes. Children can drink 1-2 cups early in the day.