Wetting the BedQUESTION: Is wetting the bed a sign of a more serious medical or emotional problem?ANSWER:
Wetting the bed does not come from poor self-esteem or emotional immaturity. The truth is that bedwetting can be caused by a number of factors. Bedwetting is sometimes inherited and effective therapy is aimed at underlying causes, such as immature bladder muscles or diseases. With treatment, these children can meet their goal of being completely dry in twelve weeks. Some psychologists see the symptom of bedwetting in many of their clients who are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).
A mother contacted me to tell the story of her son's bedwetting struggles. It started when they moved to Iceland, a country of constant daylight for many months in a row. Their son ran several 105-degree fevers, which the doctors explained as a virus. Two years later, because of more fevers, the boy was diagnosed with a small bladder, bladder spasms, and a kidney infection caused by a second-degree reflux in one kidney. After many medical tests and much frustration, the use of an anti-diuretic medication and an alarm buzzer system helped relieve their son's bedwetting and kidney problems.
A small percentage of children may have emotional stresses in their lives that results in bedwetting. Any changes in the child's life such as a divorce, a move, or a death in the family may contribute to a child wetting the bed. My mother did not wet the bed when she resided in an orphanage during World War II. At the age of eight, she was adopted into a family with two boys. It was then that my mom started wetting the bed because of the severe abusive treatment she received in the home. When she turned sixteen years old, she ran away from the home to stay with an aunt of the family who recognized what was going on in my mother's life. It was then that the bed wetting stopped.
My husband's family was extremely dysfunctional. His mother left while his father was in and out of Federal/State penitentiaries, so my husband's paternal grandparents raised him from infancy. He was considered to be a "failure to thrive baby" with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a disease passed to the unborn baby by an alcoholic mother, causing the baby's refusal to eat and inability to bond with the mother. My husband's grandparents rescued him; nursing him through many bouts of pneumonia while providing a safe and stable environment. Although he'd suffered through bedwetting throughout infancy and early childhood, the love and care of his grandparents led to the cessation of his bedwetting incidences when he was seven years old.
If ongoing bed wetting affects someone you know, The National Kidney Foundation (1.800.622.9010) has materials that can help, and includes references for doctors in the your local area. The various websites for Aventis Pharma provide additional assistance to parents in foreign countries, connecting them with doctors and medication to aid in their struggles against bed wetting issues.