A number of treatments available to help a 10-year-old bed-wetter


September 22, 1992|By Dr. Modena Wilson and Dr. Alain Joffe | Dr. Modena Wilson and Dr. Alain Joffe,Contributing Writers

Q: My 10-year-old son is still wetting the bed at night. He's getting concerned because he wants to sleep over at friends' houses. What should I do?

A: In answering your question, we're assuming your son does not have any problems with daytime wetting and the nighttime wetting dates from childhood. If either isn't true, you'll want to check with your doctor, as your son may have an underlying abnormality that needs correction.

Otherwise, it is most likely his wetting (which tends to run in families) is due to one of the following: a small bladder, inability to delay urinating when he feels the need, drinking too much fluid in the late afternoon and evening or not waking up when his bladder is full.

We suggest you make an appointment with your son's doctor to assure that everything is OK. There are a number of treatments available including bladder-stretching exercises (for individuals with small bladders), self-awakening techniques, transistorized alarms (which help to awaken people at night) and various medications. We prefer the self-awaken- ing techniques and alarms because they have the highest cure rate and because they will give your son a sense of control in solving his "problem."

Regardless of what you decide, it will be important for your son to understand that bed-wetting is not uncommon at his age and that there is no shame in having such a condition. Your support along with his curing the bed-wetting himself will enhance his self-esteem.

Dr. Wilson is director of pediatric primary care of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.

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