Treatment for Bedwetting
Depending on the situation, treatments for bedwetting can include:
- Bladder training
- Moisture alarms
Both the parents and child should take an active part in deciding which recommended treatment makes the most sense for their particular situation.
Bladder training can help a person hold urine longer. Bladder training for bedwetting consists of exercises for strengthening and coordinating muscles of the bladder and urethra, and may help the control of urination. These techniques teach the child to anticipate the need to urinate, and prevent urination when away from a toilet.
Techniques that may help bedwetting include:
- Determining bladder capacity
- Drinking less fluid before sleeping
- Developing routines for waking up.
Write down what times your child urinates during the day. Then figure out the times between trips to the bathroom. After a day or two, have your child try to wait an extra 15 minutes before using the bathroom. If the child usually goes to the bathroom at 3:30 p.m., have him wait until 3:45. Slowly make the times longer and longer. This method is designed for children with small bladders. It helps stretch the bladder to hold more urine. Be patient. Bladder training can take several weeks, or even months.
At night, moisture alarms can awaken a person when he or she begins to urinate. These devices include a water-sensitive pad that is worn in pajamas or placed on the bed. An alarm sounds when moisture is first detected. For the alarm to be effective, the child must awaken as soon as the alarm goes off, go to the bathroom, and change the bedding. This may require having another person sleep in the same room to awaken the bedwetter.
Bedwetting may be treated by increasing ADH levels. The hormone can be boosted by a synthetic version known as desmopressin, or DDAVP, which recently became available in pill form. Patients can also spray a mist (containing desmopressin) into their nostrils. Desmopressin is approved for use by children.
Another medication, called imipramine (Tofranil®), is also used to treat bedwetting. It acts on both the brain and the urinary bladder. Researchers estimate that these medications may help as many as 70 percent of people achieve short-term success. Many people, however, relapse once the medication is stopped.
If a young person experiences bedwetting resulting from an overactive bladder, a doctor might prescribe a medicine that helps to calm the bladder muscle. This medicine controls muscle spasms, and belongs to a class of medications called anticholinergics.