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Full bladder sends message to brain: Reasons why teens still wet the bed

While many parents understand when their children wet the bed at age 4, bedwetting at age 14 can come as a surprise yet it is actually common in teenagers countrywide.

A doctor at Gatundu Level 4 Hospital told KNA on Wednesday that an adult’s full bladder sends a message to the brain that wakes an individual up in the middle of the night.

However, that does not automatically happen to children as most of them slowly develop this ability over time.

Dr Judy Wairimu, who is a paediatrician, said some children stopped wetting the bed as pre-scholars but others do not develop this ability until much later in life which is not abnormal.

The doctor cited some factors which she said contributed to bedwetting like bladder problems.
She said some teens have relatively small bladders to hold much urine.

Others experience muscle spasms that can lead to nocturnal enuresis, involuntary urination that happens at night while sleeping even after the age when a person should be able to control his or her bladder.

Involuntary urination that happens during the day is known as diurnal enuresis, she said.

Wairimu said sleep disorders and sound sleeping also contribute to bedwetting.

“They just cannot wake up and go to the washrooms. Other teens may have a sleep disorder that makes it hard for them to wake up to answer the call of nature.

She said a child has a 70 per cent chance of being a bed wetter over hereditary disorders where both parents also at one point bed wetted.

The doctor implied that if one parent wet the bed the possibility of a child wetting was 40 per cent and further cautioned that too much liquid intake at night contributed to bedwetting.

“Drinking too much water or other beverages late in the evening also increases the chances that your child will have a full bladder overnight. If your child does not wake up when his or her bladder is full he or she will automatically wet the bed,” Wairimu said.

She advised parents to devise strategies that might help to stop or prevent bedwetting by their young ones like limiting drinks just before bedtime.

“Parents should encourage their teens to stay well hydrated during the day but limit the amount in the evenings,” Wairimu said.

For those already with the problem, she suggested that they should be encouraged to use the washroom before they retire for the day.

“Healthy sleeping habits should be encouraged and teens should be reminded to reduce the chances of bedwetting by sleeping with an empty bladder,” she said.


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