Enuresis is often referred to as bed-wetting. Bed-wetting in the night is also known as nocturnal enuresis and is the most common type of enuresis. Daytime bed wetting is referred to as diurnal enuresis. Some children can have one or both.
This behavior isn’t always purposeful. Enuresis can’t be diagnosed unless if the child is above 5 years of age.
The major enuresis symptoms include:
- Wetting the clothes.
- Repeated bed-wetting.
- Wetting at least two times a week for at least 3 months.
Many factors can result in the development of the enuresis condition. Non-intentional or involuntary passing of urine may be as a result:
- Severe stress.
- Unrelenting infections in the urinary tract.
- A tiny bladder.
- Delays in development which result in interference in regards to toilet training.
- Intentional or voluntary enuresis can be linked to other mental and emotional disorders i.e. anxiety or behavior disorders. Enuresis tends to be genetic, meaning that it runs in families. This implies that the condition may be passed on from the parent to the child, in particular on the father’s side.
- Toilet training that is started when a child is too young or is forced can also contribute to this condition, although little research makes this particular conclusion.
How Prevalent Is Enuresis?
Enuresis is a rampant problem in childhood. Estimates hint that 3% of girls and 7% of boys aged 5 years suffer from enuresis. These figures go down decrease to 2% of girls and 3% of boys by the age of 10. Most children with enuresis outgrow this condition by they time they approach their teenage years, with approximately less than 1% of girls and about 1% of boys having enuresis at the age of 18.
The medical practitioner will take the medical history then conduct a physical examination; this helps in ruling out any other medical disorders that could be resulting in the urine release, also referred to as incontinence.
Lab tests can also be done i.e. urinalysis & blood work which measures kidney function, hormones and blood sugar. Physical conditions that can cause incontinence include infections, diabetes, or a structural or functional defect which blocks the urinary tract.
Enuresis may also be linked to certain medications which cause behavior changes or confusion as the side effects. If there aren’t any physical causes detected, the doctor normally makes the diagnosis based on the child’s current behaviors and symptoms.
Treatment may not be necessary in mild enuresis cases; this is basically due to the fact that majority of children with enuresis outgrow it, usually before they get into teenage. Knowing the appropriate time to begin treatment is difficult, since it’s not possible to foretell when and if the child will outgrow enuresis.
Some of the factors that can be considered when making the decision whether to start treatment are if the child with enuresis has a low self esteem and if enuresis is causing impaired functioning i.e. if the child prefers to keep to themselves due to the condition.
Management of Enuresis
Early enuresis management includes:
- Behavioral medication making use of positive reinforcement
- Patient and caring parental attitude; remember that the affected child doesn’t have control over the condition
- Addressing the possible causes of enuresis
- Dedicated attention to maintaining and establishing normal hydration and bowel patterns that are consistent
If this management approach fails to yield any results in three months, pharmacologic therapy or alarm therapy need to be considered.
Early enuresis management that lays focus on positive reinforcement and behavioral medication is helpful in most case. Enuresis isn’t a condition that can be corrected using surgical procedures.