Bedwetting and Hypnosis
Primary Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting)
The use of hypnosis as a treatment option
The majority of children who have the problem of wetting the bed have nothing medically wrong with them. Pediatricians typically don’t diagnose primary nocturnal enuresis until age 6, which appears to be an arbitrary cutoff. About 13% of kids still wet the bed at the age of 6. There are many factors which may play a part in bedwetting, rather than from one single cause. Psychological stress, such as birth of a sibling, divorce, the start of school, or transitions of any kind that the child feels stressed about etc., is believed to be a more common cause. Some key causes of Enuresis are the following:
Sleep Arousal Disorder
These children are thought to be deep sleepers or kids who are not easily roused from sleep when their parents try to wake them. There are sleep studies that suggest the wetting appears to occur in all stages of the sleep cycle.
Reaction to certain substances
Sometimes children have food sensitivities that contribute to the problem. Foods that contain caffeine and other known substances the child may be sensitive to should be eliminated.
Some kids have small functional bladder capacity. They don’t have as much warning of the need to urinate and they have a greater urgency as a result once they realize they need to go.
Increase in Urine Production
Typically at night, most people have a release of a hormone called vasopressin. Vasopressin reduces the amount of urine that is produced. These children produce more urine and less vasopressin than their peers.
Irregular Bowel Movements
If the child has constipation or irregular bowel movements it can contribute to the problem because if the rectum is full, the bladder’s expansion may be restricted, decreasing sensitivity to fullness of the bladder.
Possible Seizure Activity
Seizure activity can cause loss of bladder control. Your doctor may need to rule that out as a possibility.
Medication Side Effects
Some medications contribute to this problem. Review any medications your child is taking with your doctor.
A Genetic Link
Children whose parents were bedwetters have a 77% greater chance of having the issue, than other kids. It appears that children who have just one parent who had the issue as a child, have about a 44% chance of having it and a 15% chance for those with neither parent who had the issue as a child. A gene marker has been identified as a causative factor of primary nocturnal enuresis. A dominant gene located on chromosome 13, and one on chromosome 12, have been suggested as a possible heredity link for primary nocturnal enuresis by some studies. Fathers were affected more than mothers in most studies which is consistent with the fact that this issue is more common in boys than in girls.
How it affects kids and their families
As you might imagine, children who wet the bed have lower self-esteem and go to great lengths to hide their problem from family and especially their friends. These children avoid sleepovers and forgo opportunities to go on group outings overnight, such as scout camp, for example. Enuresis can impact the development of independence. Shame, inferiority and feeling of isolation in these children is pretty common. Often they believe that they are the only kid who is dealing with this very personal issue.
What looks like a small problem on the surface, grows into a wider reaching problem than at first blush. Parents too are impacted emotionally, physically and financially. There is the frustration of getting up to help the child to the bathroom throughout the night, disrupting their own sleep cycle, and taking a toll on their own stamina and health. The increased cost in laundry, medications and alarms to treat the problem, and the expense of disposable briefs can add up and put stress on the family budget as well. Nerves flare and sometimes parents even punish their child in desperation, hoping to modify the child’s behavior.
The assumption that the child will grow out of it on his own is doubtful if it persists after the age of 6, and parents should not ignore it. Punishing the child is not an appropriate alternative for this issue. Withdrawing privileges, increasing household chores and physical punishment can even exacerbate the problem. Do not give attention to the wetting, rather deal with the mess without blaming or criticizing the child. The child is not doing this on purpose. No child wants to be awakened in the middle of the night in a cold, wet bed, and they don’t want to take care of the mess or deal with the humiliation either. Even though it may appear that the child is doing it on purpose or is just being lazy, that is usually not the case. Some helpful options for treatment include:
b) Bladder stretching exercises, where the child practices holding their urine longer during the day
c) Alarms that help condition the child to awake and make the connection between the bladder and the brain to recognize the need to use the bathroom appropriately
It is important to understand that as the child goes for longer periods of time being dry, even if he doesn’t go all night, that he is making progress. Use patience as the periods of dryness will eventually go all night. Celebrate success in small increments. If you are sure that there is not a medical cause for the problem and you have tried several available options without success, hypnosis would be an appropriate tool in helping to extinguish enuresis. Make sure that you choose a Hypnotherapist who is certified, who has an empathetic approach, and who is experienced in working with children.
This article is written for educational purposes only and not for medical advice or as a substitute for medical treatment.