Acupuncture Auckland: Article Series: Bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis, is quite common, and there is relatively little in the way of treatment in Western Medical Science (WMS). By contrast, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and especially acupuncture and /or acupressure, is often very successful in treating this problem.
Children vary greatly in their ability to control their bladders at night. While most children stop bedwetting between the age of three and five years old, some may only reach this developmental stage much later. Approximately 20 percent of children over the age of five still wet their beds. It is quite normal for a child under the age of five to wet the bed occasionally, and boys often take longer than girls to become dry at night. ‘Accidents’ do happen and should be dealt with kindly and sensitively.
Although bedwetting is generally not a cause for great concern, it can be a strain on both parents and child, and as children get older, the problem tends to be associated with emotional stress.
While most of these children will grow out of this phase before they reach puberty, a select few suffer from bedwetting right through their teens and even into adulthood.
Bedwetting that continues through the later years of childhood and adolescence can be extremely distressing and may lead to emotional and personal problems. By age 7, most children who still wet their bed begin to feel embarrassed and ashamed about their problem. It may become limiting, as these children will often avoid partaking in certain activities like sleeping out or camping, for fear that they might wet their bed. At the same time, it may also become a struggle for parents dealing with continuous bedding changes, wet mattresses (however pull-ups minimises this problem), and an anxious child.
Western Medical Perspective
Western doctors believe that bedwetting is usually caused by an immature bladder or the inability to wake up due to very deep sleep states. In both cases, they say this is typically something your child will grow out of in time as the bladder matures and the mind becomes more sensitive to the bodies’ cues to wake up.
Your doctor will begin by getting a detailed history of your child’s bedwetting, as well as any other symptoms that might be experienced. Depending on the circumstances, a full medical check, including urine analysis and blood tests, may be done to rule out medical conditions such as diabetes or a urinary tract infection. If your doctor suspects a physical abnormality, an X-ray or scan of the kidneys and bladder may be done or you may be referred to an urologist for further testing. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause and the seriousness of the problem.
A number of treatment options are available to help treat bedwetting, including behavioral changes, moisture alarms, drug treatment and psychotherapy.
Stay tuned for my follow-up article where we will look at the Traditional Chinese Medical Perspective on Bedwetting and effective treatment options. If you have any queries regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact me at the Acupuncture Studio.
Read the next part of this article in Bedwetting Part Two