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Bed Wetting

Bed wetting issuesThis medical problem, called primary enuresis (involuntary bedwetting) is usually related to the delayed maturation of the neural pathways between the brain and the bladder. Ten percent of five-year-old children still have this problem.

If the child is dry during the day, this excludes many medical conditions. Before attempting to rectify the problem two basic tests must be done: a urine test to exclude infection and diabetes, and an ultrasound to confirm that the structure of his urogenital system is intact.

The first step in treatment is to reassure both you and your child that this is a benign and normal condition, which he will outgrow. Give him responsibilities around this enuresis - get him to take linen and pajamas to the laundry basket himself, replace the wet bedding and clothes with fresh dry ones and run his own bath in the morning. Let him learn to wake when his bladder is full - this involves having him recognize the sensation of having a full bladder and to try and “hold on” a little more during the day time. This allows the bladder wall to stretch and gives him practice of toning the sphincter muscles at the base of the bladder.

It's important that he receive positive reinforcement and encouragement, as opposed to scolding and punishment. This is an involuntary and unintentional event which embarrasses and humiliates children.

Limit fluid intake three to four hours before going to bed. Cutting refined sugars, carbonated drinks, chocolates, salt and spices from the diet has been shown to help.

Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc will help control bladder muscle spasm, while brewer's yeast and spirulina will build protein structures in the bladder wall. Homeopathy is effective, using remedies chosen to match your son's nature or temperament. Treatment helps the symptoms of anxiety and upset that often seem to accompany enuresis.

Conventional medicine is reserved as a last resort for those “emergency” times of an important sleepover, or for older children who are not responding to conservative treatment.

Article written by By Mike Clark, and published in Your Child, 17 April 2008
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