Surgery may correct teen's testicle


September 25, 1990|By Dr. Modena Wilson and Dr. Alain Joffe | Dr. Modena Wilson and Dr. Alain Joffe,Dr. Wilson is director of pediatric primary care of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.

I have an 18-year-old whose right testicle never dropped during puberty. What are the chances of his having surgery to bring it down?

A. The surgical repair of undescended testicles is relatively straightforward, particularly in younger children. However, because of your son's age, the answer is much more complex and affected by a number of factors best reviewed with your son's doctor.

At his age, there is no chance that the testicle will drop by itself. I urge you to consult with your son's physician immediately.

Q. My 5 1/2 -year-old daughter wets the bed almost every night. When will she stop?

A. It is hard to say when she will stop, but bed-wetting is scommon at her age that we consider it normal.

Ten to 20 percent of 5-year-olds wet the bed and half still do at 10.

Most have primary nocturnal enuresis. This means that, although they have been toilet-trained, they are not consistently dry at night. Your doctor can tell you if this is your daughter's problem. If it is, it is more a laundry problem than a medical disorder.

No one is certain why some older children wet the bed and others do not. We suspect that something about the sleep cycle of bed-wetters prevents their becoming conscious of bladder signals. Often, prolonged bed-wetting runs in families, so there may be a genetic component.

Probably, you have tried limiting your daughter's fluids in the evening and waking her to urinate before you go to bed. If she continues to wet the bed past age 7, and you and she want to break the pattern, consult with your doctor. Inexpensive, easy-to-use alarm systems are available to train an older child. Occasionally, medication may help.

However, we do not recommend these methods for young children. If your daughter's bed-wetting is preventing her, or you, from staying with friends, buy her a washable sleeping bag you can fit with a plastic sheet. Discreetly inform other adults that she may wet the sleeping bag. Ask them to send it home with her, without comment, for laundering.

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