5 Common Causes of Bed-Wetting
By Sarah Axtell, ND • January 1, 2014
If your child wets the bed, you know this can be an embarrassing issue especially if your child is older. Enuresis is tbe medical term for nighttime wetting, and it is defined as the involuntary urination at night in a child after age 5. It is quite common. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, 15 percent of children still wet the bed by age 5. Limiting beverages after dinner is an obvious approach. But it often does not prove to be effective.
Here are the top 5 common causes of enueresis:
1. Food sensitivities: Believe it or not, this is the most common cause I see clinically. Dairy tends to be the biggest culprit, but other foods can trigger bed-wetting as well, such as wheat, eggs, soy, sugar and corn. Certain foods can trigger an inflammatory response in the bladder and kidneys, thus causing night-time wetting. So the mac n’ cheese at dinner time may be a bigger player than the glass of water your child had before bed. There are 2 different ways to evaluate your child for food sensitivities. An elimination diet of the most common food culprits is a way to identify food triggers. This can be tricky with kids though. As a mom myself, I understand it is difficult to eliminate dairy, gluten, soy, corn eggs and sugar all at once. This is what I prefer food sensitivity testing in kids to pinpoint individual triggers. It typically takes about 2-3 weeks to see results so persistence is key. But results can be positively dramatic! It sure does beat botox injections to the bladder (yes, they do this!).
2. Size of bladder: Anatomy may play a role. Perhaps your child was born with a smaller bladder. You can stretch the bladder by teaching your child to hold his or her urine as long as they can.
3. Spasms of bladder: If your child also has growing pains, nightmares, and muscle cramps, he or she may be deficient in an essential nutrient, Magnesium. Magnesium is a muscle-relaxant so if you are deficient, you are more prone to muscle tremors, cramps and spasms. The bladder is lined with smooth muscle and is susceptible to magnesium deficiency.Talk to your naturopathic doctor about proper dosage and forms of this nutrient.
4. Blood sugar instabilities: Your child may be waking in the middle of the night due to blood sugar imbalances. This could be due to high blood sugar, as in the case of diabetes, where frequent urination is common. Or possibly due to low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Eating protein before bed can be helpful.
5. Emotional disturbances or stress: Children often express their emotions physically rather than mentally. This can manifest in frequent accidents day or night. Checking in with your child and creating a safe space for open communication is an important facet to the treatment of enueresis.
Yes, often children “grow out” of this embarrassing condition. But why watch and wait when there can be an easy, natural solution.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.