Understanding incontinence in children is challenging. After all, the “potty training” process is not exact; children reach this milestone at different ages. Often kids in the same family will have very different experiences with this process, even though parents seem to provide consistent encouragement.
While some children simply get the hang of things earlier than others, at some point “not being potty trained” becomes more significant, an actual medical issue. In fact, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “When wetting happens in a child who is old enough to control his or her bladder, it’s known as enuresis.”
Enuresis can be incredibly frustrating, both to children and their parents. It is important to recognize the types. The most common is nocturnal enuresis, also known as nighttime bed wetting. Diurnal enuresis is the medical name for “bed wetting” during the day.
While parents may be frustrated with children who are slow to potty train, this disorder is not diagnosed in girls under the age of five and boys under the age of six. Girls tend to potty train at an earlier age than boys.
Causes of Enuresis
Understanding the causes of enuresis can be helpful for parents and caregivers. Some causes, including repeated urinary tract infections, diabetes, hormonal issues and a small bladder (among others) are physical. Emotional issues including anxiety and stress can also cause this condition. It may even be a side effect of certain medications.
Regardless of the cause, enuresis can be incredibly upsetting. Parents must recognize that their children need their help and support to manage and overcome this.
This condition should be diagnosed by your child’s physician. Both a physical exam and lab work may be necessary to accurately identify the issue.
Treating Urinary Incontinence in Children
Your child’s doctor will be able to help determine any necessary courses of treatment. Depending upon underlying issues, medical intervention may be unnecessary. According to WebMD, “In many cases, enuresis goes away over time and does not need to be treated.”
When treatment is warranted behavior therapy (including bladder training and alarms) are often recommended. In other cases, medication may be appropriate.
In addition to treatment, management is also critical. Those who have children who suffer from enuresis know how damaging urine from accidents can be. (Actually, all parents who have gone through the potty training process can appreciate the issues accidents can cause.)
A wide range of products designed to protect your mattresses, furnishings, cars and more are available today. These can reduce the stress associated with dealing with incontinence and help extend the life of your valuable belongings.
If you believe your child is suffering from enuresis, make an appointment with your pediatrician and offer your child support during this difficult time. Professional help can ensure you are addressing underlying problems and allow you to provide your child the assistance he or she may need.
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