A study from 2012 found significantly lower mean vitamin B(12) and folate levels in patients who suffered from bed wetting. These findings were confirmed in a study in 2015 which also identified that average blood iron was significantly higher.
A February 2018 study in the Journal of Pediatric Urology may offer hope for those pursuing non-drug options.
Based on these results, the authors concluded that supplementation with vitamin D and omega-3 fish oil could help prevent nighttime bedwetting episodes among children seven to 15 year of age:
Vitamin D – 1,000 IU minimum but children frequently take up to 2,000 IU daily under the guidance of their physician.
Omega 3 – 1,000 mg daily, can be taken as a capsule, gummy or liquid.
Parents and children are often given the following advice by doctors to curb bedwetting:
Bed alarms – alarms have sensors that detect moisture, which wake the child up as they begin having an accident.
Education and reassurance – diet changes, avoidance of caffeinated drinks and also avoidance of fluid before going to bed. Make sure the child urinates before going to sleep.
Positive reinforcement – encouraging the child after dry nights.
Medications Commonly used include:
Desmopressin – Taken at night with a small sip of water, this medication can be used for children age 6 or older. Common reactions listed by Epocrates Drug Database include headaches, nausea, abdominal pain, high blood pressure and rarely seizures, respiratory arrest and anaphylactic allergic reactions.
Imipramine – This medication can also be used for those 6 or older. Epocrates lists a “black box warning” for this medication, stating that it may increase suicide risk in children, adolescents, and young adults with major depression. Additional common reactions listed include drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision to name a few.
Due to the possible side effects of medications, more natural alternatives are desired as first line by most.
Common strategies to help with bedwetting
- Shift times for drinking. Increase fluid intake earlier in the day and reduce it later in the day.
- Schedule bathroom breaks. Get your child on a regular urination schedule (every two to three hours) and right before bedtime.
- Be encouraging. Make your child feel good about progress by consistently rewarding successes.
- Eliminate bladder irritants. At night, start by eliminating caffeine (such as chocolate milk and cocoa) and if this doesn’t work, cut citrus juices, artificial flavorings, dyes (especially red) and sweeteners. Many parents don’t realize these can all irritate a child’s bladder.
- Avoid thirst overload. If schools allow, give your child a water bottle so they can drink steadily all day. This avoids excessive thirst after school.
- Consider if constipation is a factor. Because the rectum is right behind the bladder, difficulties with constipation can present themselves as a bladder problem, especially at night. This affects about one third of children who wet the bed, though children are unlikely to identify or share information about constipation.
- Don’t wake children up to urinate. Randomly waking up a child at night and asking him or her to urinate on demand isn’t the answer, either – and will only lead to more sleeplessness and frustration.
- Don’t resort to punishment. Getting angry at your child doesn’t help him learn. The process doesn’t need to involve conflict.
What can you do to identify the cause of bedwetting in your child?