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A somewhat unorthodox solution to bedwetting
I can remember waking up with a sopping wet cold patch in the bed, on more than one occasion, as a child. I felt humiliated, as I watched my mother angrily strip the linen, off the bed.
But when they’re still happening on a nightly basis, after about the age of 5, something is clearly wrong.
Blame the bladder
Most of the time, the assumption is that it is the bladde, which is misfiring.
And as a consequence of this – liquid restriction, is the first line of defence; ironically this approach may end up, exacerbating the problem.
But why is the bladder misfiring ?
This was what a team of researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre asked. The team turned their attention, away from the bladder, to the adjacent set of pipes i.e. the rectum.
Searching for the culprit
They performed X-ray studies of the lower abdomen in 30 serial bedwetters, ranging in age from 5 – 15 years. Ouch ! Imagine being 15 years old and still wetting the bed.
The kids all had big loads on board.
The X-ray revealed the rectum contained excess stool i.e. the kids were effectively constipated. Interestingly only 3 of the children’s bowel habits, suggested they were officially constipated.
NOTE : To be diagnosed with constipation, bowel habits must occur irregularly (less often than every other day) and the stool should be hard.
The bladder is being pushed
So the rectum is a little full – bedwetting is about peeing, not pooping.
Well, it turns out a full rectum, squishes the bladder, decreasing its’ holding capacity, which is what is causing the uncontrolled voiding, of urine, during the night.
The research team treated the bedwetter’s, with a course of laxative therapy….
Laxatives help things along
The protocol they used involved polyethylene glycol (Miralax®), this drug causes more water to be retained by the gut, making the stool soft and squishy. Soft squishy stools, are able to slide out of the rectum more easily, leaving it completely empty.
The empty rectum automatically increases the bladder’s capacity.
Increasing the odds of making it through the night without “an accident”.
Emptying the rectum, relieves the bedwetting problem, most of the time….
Emptying the gut solves the problem
25 out of the 30, of the bedwetters, were “cured” following the laxative treatment, that ‘s an 80 % success rate.
Not too shabby !
So what about restricting fluids ?
Managing bedwetting typically begins with restricting fluids – the thinking being less water in, means, less water out.
But less water in….
Can also cause the stool to be a little harder.
Potentially contributing further to the problem. Eish !
That said, water, the bedwetting problem, probably has NOTHING to do with water.
Failing to go, causes going in the night
This type of constipation is more than likely caused by bathroom avoidance i.e. put off going when the urge arises.
Ignoring the signals to go, causes the stool to accumulate in the bowel, so that even when going, it is never completely emptied.
This is where laxatives come in…..
Laxatives need to be used with caution
Laxatives can be purchased over the counter and are considered to be relatively safe. But they do need to be used with caution, especially if they are used on a long term basis.
“Forced” evacuations can
- cause good stuff to be lost and
- create a situation where the gut, becomes dependent on outside “forces”.
Dosing your child with laxatives long term, is not a good idea.
But, if a little laxative therapy can cure 80 % of the bedwetters in this study, it is probably worth a try, if you’re battling with a bedwetter.
Discuss the option with your doctor.
Sometimes you have to think outside of the box, to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY and BETTER HEALTH. !
There is more to sleep than just getting the quota, getting it in at a consistent time, is critical for developing brains. irregular bedtimes tire little brains .
Bedtime should be magical bonding time, reflections of the day, fairytales & kisses. What happens most nights is not magical. You’re a victim of biology….
That night light may not be protecting your child from the boogeyman – if the light is not red, it is aligned with the boogeyman.