by Kathy Sena
What do baseball slugger Mark McGuire and actors Vince Vaughn and Michael Landon have in common? They all wet the bed as kids. And all went on to speak out about it as adults to reassure both parents and kids that bedwetting is nothing to be ashamed of.
And it’s certainly nothing to be punished for. Landon wrote that his mother would display his unwashed wet sheets on the clothesline — and even tied parts of the wet sheets to him before we went to school — in a misguided attempt to get him to stop wetting the bed. As an adult, Landon reportedly had little contact with his mother. Hard to blame him.
Fortunately, there’s a lot more information, and help, available today for parents and kids who are dealing with bedwetting. Giving children control over bedwetting helps them overcome not only the nighttime nuisance but also the stigma of it, say doctors at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston.
“Because studies have yet to identify the cause of nighttime bedwetting, no one treatment is guaranteed to work for everyone. Nevertheless, the course of action with which the child is most comfortable tends to produce the best outcome,” says Edmond T. Gonzales, Jr., M.D., professor of urology at BCM. “With parents’ support, giving children an active role in treatment builds confidence.”
Some treatment options include prescription medications. One medicine makes the body react as if dehydrated so the kidneys retain liquids overnight. Another treatment involves an alarm system, worn in pajamas, that sounds when it becomes wet.
More commonly, doctors suggest parents limit the amount of liquids children drink in the evening and schedule a bathroom break before bed.
Gonzales says family doctors can help rule out any major health problems that could be contributing to bedwetting before discussing the many options. Note that most kids outgrow bedwetting by puberty.
Kathy Sena is an award-winning health and parenting writer and the mother of a 14-year-old son. Visit her website at www.kathysena.com and check out her blog, Parent Talk Today, at www.parenttalktoday.com.