Bedwetting beyond age seven is a problem — Paediatricians



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Today 9:41 PM
Medical experts say parents punishing or abusing their children who bedwet are rather worsening the problem and exposing them to more stress.

The experts, mainly paediatricians, say parents should rather be concerned is a child who has previously attained bladder control for more than six months suddenly starts bedwetting without any obvious sickness.

According to the physicians, although the age of achieving bladder control varies among children, bedwetting beyond age five or seven is a problem that requires immediate attention.

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, a Consultant Paediatrician, Nephrology Division at the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, Dr. Abdurrazzaq Alege, states that bedwetting is not a disease on its own, though it might be “a window to an underlying disease.”

Alege identifies stress as a common cause of bedwetting in children, adding that it majorly has to do with emotional imbalance.

“This could follow a traumatic experience as seen in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder such as sudden deprivation of loved ones; or witnessing a devastating event, for example, fire or road traffic accident.

“Others could be in form of abuse, which could be physical, emotional, sexual or even neglect. This is more common in children with secondary forms of bedwetting.

“Moreover, it is associated with many complications, most especially psychosocial problems. Many factors are responsible for bedwetting in children and even among adolescents.”

Continuing, the physician said, “A parent should worry when a child who has previously attained bladder control for more than half a year suddenly starts bedwetting without any obvious sickness. One should look around the home environment, playgroup, as well as the school.

“Tell-tale signs could include withdrawal from activities, moody appearance, loss of appetite or poor school performance. Where the abuse is perpetrated by the parents, it may be difficult to make diagnosis on time. Therefore, the teacher also has a big role to play to unravel the problems.”
The Paediatrician said for unknown reasons, bedwetting is hereditary, stating, “A study showed that in families where both parents bedwet in childhood, seven out of 10 children will develop the same problem.

“Where it is just one of the parents, four out of 10 children will be affected and only one out of 10 children will bedwet when none of the parents had a similar history.

“A history of bedwetting in the family, low socioeconomic level or being the first child in a family has been identified as risk factors, too, he noted.

Commenting on treatment options, Alege said bedwetting is curable, affirming that most cases of bedwetting resolve spontaneously without any intervention.

He, however, added, “Some affected children may have developed psychological complications during the period of bedwetting. All these have to be addressed.

“As a rule, active treatment is not advised until the child is above six years of age. The treatment options available vary from lifestyle modification, to psychotherapy, alarm treatment and drug therapy.”

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