Every sixth child at the age of five eats at night - with the 15-year-olds still around 1.5 percent. "Nocturnal bedwetting is usually a big burden for both the child and the parents, " Dr. Ingo Franke from the Center for Pediatrics of the University Hospital Bonn. Fear and shame often affect the self-esteem of children who, for example, do not want to stay overnight with friends because of nocturnal bed wetting, called enuresis nocturna, or refuse to take part in school trips. But even in adults nocturnal urination can occur.
Bedwetting in children is usually easy to treat
If a child does not get dry at night, it is usually not due to a psychological cause such as stress, as is often mistakenly assumed, but a maturing delay. The enuresis nocturna is usually successfully treatable. First, the child is extensively studied medically to exclude organic causes such as malformations of the urinary tract.
With a uroflowmetry device, the physician can determine if the bladder emptying is actually a functional disorder, such as nocturnal enuresis, or an organic cause, such as an acute urinary tract infection or a neurogenic bladder voiding disorder. Such a device measures urine flow during bladder emptying and shows a typical course in certain diseases.
Log drinking behavior
Experience has shown that behavioral therapy achieves very good healing results in enuresis nocturna. First, the parents keep a record of their drinking behavior as well as the urination and enuresis of their child over a period of four to six weeks.
Up to a quarter of all children become dry after their drinking habits have been recorded and then the drinking habits have been made aware.
Bell pants: rarely useful
The use of bell-pants, which sound a loud ringing sound as soon as they get wet, is considered rather ineffective. This method has a high failure rate of 75 percent, as the kids often ignore the ringtone and continue to wet the night.
This method is only meaningful if the bell wakes up the parents, so that they consistently go to the toilet with each ringing with the child. Only then can this conditioning bring a lasting success. "The decisive factor is how great the suffering pressure of both the affected child and the parents is, " says Franke.
Medicines for bedwetting?
From a drug therapy advises Dr. med. Ingo Franke: "A child should not regularly take psychotropic drugs due to a maturation delay." In addition, the risk of poisoning in case of incorrect ingestion is quite large. In special cases, such as upcoming school trips, however, the addition of certain hormone preparations makes sense, as they achieve an effect in the short term.
Bedwetting through respiratory disorders?
In Sydney, scientists have found a connection between bedwetting and nocturnal respiratory disorders. Children with too large palate or pharyngeal tonsils were often freed from bedwetting by removing respiratory obstruction. Likewise: bedwetting, whose breathing is disturbed because of a too narrow palate, dry quickly when wearing an expander to stretch the throat, as initial study results prove.
In Germany, there are no research approaches in this area. The reason why children wet with nocturnal breathing difficulties is still unclear. "Possibly, the negative pressure in the chest due to the respiratory problems decreases so much that more hormones are formed, which excrete additional fluids from the body, " says pediatric neurologist Franke. "Especially children with a very persistent history should be checked in a child-friendly sleep laboratory."
He considers a study on the connection between respiratory disorders and bedwetting to be very meaningful, because it could be helped with very simple methods many children.
Emotional burden of bedwetting
Whether it affects children or adults, this unpleasant malfunction of the body leads to a high emotional burden and is generally perceived as extremely embarrassing. Therefore, dealing with the topic is rather cramped and those affected are reluctant to come out. The lack of ability to control one's body and, as a result, the elimination of body fluids in an uncontrolled manner is a terrible idea for anyone, as it partially deprives them of their autonomy and physical integrity.
As a result, adults feel that they are in the state of a helpless toddler and children are ashamed because they seem to be standing still in their development and unable to grow up.
Bedwetting in adults
Although bedwetting is most common in children, it can affect adults as well. The cause of a nocturnal urination may lie in an incontinence in addition to the organic causes already mentioned. Incontinence, which is conceptually derived from the Latin "incontinentia" (non-behavior) as an inability, is due to the disruption of a physical process and can therefore affect people of all ages.
Even in adults, a medical examination to determine the exact causes of bedwetting is advisable to treat this successfully.