Bedwetting is a common problem during a child’s developmental stages, and does not raise any concern, until a child is 6-7 years of age. This article speaks of medication usually prescribed to treat the persistence of bedwetting beyond this age.
Also known as nighttime incontinence or nocturnal enuresis, bedwetting is a natural occurrence in children up to 6-7 years of age. This is due to the fact that at this age, children lack the ability of nighttime bladder control.
The persistence of bedwetting beyond this age has been associated with hormonal imbalance, stress, urinary tract infection, sleep apnea, diabetes, and chronic constipation. If the child’s bladder is not fully developed, then it might not be able to hold urine produced at night, which may lead to bedwetting. Anatomical defect, and slow maturation of the nerves that control the bladder, are also some of the causes.
How is Bedwetting Treated
One effective treatment is the use of moisture alarms. These devices run on battery, and are available at most pharmacies, needless of any prescription. These alarms are connected to a pad on the child’s trousers or bedding. The pad, being moisture sensitive, will trigger an alarm, if there is any incidence of bedwetting. So, when the alarm goes off, it is time to arouse the kid from sleep, and take him/her to the toilet. Such devices may take 2-12 weeks to provide positive results. These alarms are effective, come with minimal or zero side effects, and may serve as a good long-term solution.
Medication helps to curb the production of too much urine during nighttime. A hormone known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH) forces the body to produce less urine. Drugs like desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) may be prescribed to increase the level of ADH in the body. However, the administration of this drug, when the child has consumed plenty of fluids, may lead to a seizure. Also, if the child is suffering from a headache or nausea, then the medication should be avoided. The drug is available in the form of tablets and nasal sprays.
One of the causes behind this condition could be a smaller size of the bladder. So, in order to reduce bladder contractions, and increase bladder capacity, drugs like oxybutynin (Ditropan) or hyoscyamine (Levsin) may be prescribed. The possible side effects include dry mouth and facial flushing.
The antidepressant called imipramine (Tofranil) is also recommended as an effective drug, as it helps in changing the child’s sleeping and waking patterns, as well as his/her ability to hold urine for a longer time. It is also known to reduce the amount of urine produced. It is recommended to administer the drug just before going to bed. The side effects include mood changes, and sleep problems. Given the severe side effects of this medicine, it should be used only when all other medicines have failed to yield the desired results.
Parents must know that most children eventually outgrow their bedwetting problem. However, some measures such as limiting the child’s fluid intake before going to sleep, avoiding beverages in the evening, and teaching the kids not to fight the urgency to urinate, can greatly help in treating the problem. One effective method is to encourage the kids to use the toilet just before going to bed, and again before falling asleep. Inculcation of this habit reduces the episodes of bedwetting. If these methods fail, then resort to the use of medication, but only after appropriate professional consultation.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.