When to seek medical attention for bedwetting, how to prepare for your appointment and what tests and exams are available to pinpoint bedwetting causes.
Millions of children wet the bed at night. In most cases, bedwetting is not caused by an underling medical condition and the majority of kids will become dry without any treatment. However, sometimes bedwetting can become a problem. You should seek treatment if:
- The condition negatively affects the lives of the child, the parents, or both.
- The child has symptoms that suggest a more serious medical condition
When Bedwetting Interferes With Daily Life
Most physicians recommend to no treat bedwetting in children 4 years or younger. However, if bedwetting becomes a problem for the child (eg: embarrassment, frustration for not having control over their bladder, etc…), the problem should be addressed, regardless of the child’s age. Also, if parents are concerned or irritated by constantly changing clothes and bed sheets in the middle of the night, they should consider treatment even if the child is young.
Keep an Eye on a More Serious Medical Condition
In some cases bedwetting can be a symptom of another underlying disease. If you notice any of the following symptoms, make sure to contact a physician:
- bedwetting occurs on a regularly basis after being dry for a few months
- recurring daytime accidents
- behavioral problems
- the need to urinate often
- fever and complains about belly pain
- urination causes pain
- urine is cloudy or pink
- stress signs
How to Prepare for your Doctor’s Appointment
Your child will be seen by the family doctor, pediatrician or urologist (a physician who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract). The physician will ask questions in order to better understand what is causing the bedwetting, so it is recommended to write down a couple of things before going to your appointment. Some of these things include:
- Daytime potty habits. How often does your child use the potty during day? How much water he or she drinks?
- Accidents journal. How often does bedwetting occur? How many wet nights vs dry nights? Is there something that triggers bedwetting (eg. drinking milk right before bed)?
- Major lifestyle changes. Your child may be stressed because of starting school, moving to a new home, a divorce, etc…These can all cause bedwetting.
- Family history. Studies show that if a parent was wetting the bed, chances are their children will also be bedwetters.
- Medication. Some drugs may increase urine production in the body.
What Questions to Ask the Doctor
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to ultimately decide how to address bedwetting. Therefore it’s important to get all the facts by asking the physician as many questions as possible:
- What is the cause of bedwetting?
- Is treatment really needed?
- What is the difference between different treatments?
- Are drugs really necessary?
Bedwetting Test and Exams
The doctor will begin with a general physical exam in order to see what is causing bedwetting. In some cases, further tests may be required:
- Urinary test (urinalysis). It is not uncommon for the doctor to request a urinary test in order to see if the child has any infection. If the test is normal, no further testing is required. However, the doctor may require additional tests if the urinalysis is abnormal.
- X-Rays. In order to see if the bladder and kidneys are normal, the physician may require ultrasound pictures.
- Urodynamic testing can be used to see if the how well the bladder, sphincters, and urethra work. This test should only be performed under the guidance of a specialist, if the child was diagnosed with abnormal bladder function.
- Blood tests may be used to determine if the child has diabetes or kidney issues.
- Physiological tests