Like chalk and cheese, boys and girls are different in so many ways and bedwetting is no different. Nocturnal bedwetting affects twice as many boys as girls. Experts are not exactly sure why but there have been medical studies done which suggest that girls tend to develop bladder control before boys. Dr. Michael Ritchey, a Pediatric urologist, agrees and says this could be attributed to the fact that the pressure to urinate is higher in boys, affecting their ability to hold urine. In most cases bedwetting is caused by a slower than normal development of the child’s bladder control.
Prior to age 13, boys wet the bed twice as often as girls. By the time adolescence comes around, these numbers equal out. This may be due to the fact that boys’ bodies develop at a slower rate (during the early years the muscles of the bladder for a 5 year old girl are likely to be stronger than the equivalent 5 year old boy). However, no one single reason has been identified for the prevalence of enuresis among boys in comparison to girls. Interestingly, girls are more likely than boys to have other bladder problems.
The idea that male equals macho and that boys are supposed to be strong may lead parents to believe that bedwetting is somehow more abnormal or shameful for their son than their daughter. In reality, boys are more likely to wet the bed than girls (some studies report that male incidents of bedwetting are twice as likely than female incidents), and they require just as much care and support as their female peers. Sometimes young boys will try to appear “strong” in the face of bedwetting and will appear to want no assistance from their parents, this attitude is quite natural but as a arent, it’s important we let them know that it’s ok to ask for help. Another big difference between boys and girls when it comes to bedwetting are the different rituals they have before bedtime. Girls tend to have a fairly standard routine which they rarely differ from while boys bedtime rituals are often more random and haphazard (much like boys themselves at that age). Studies have shown that children who have a more stable bedtime ritual are less likely to experience bedwetting. As a result of this you should try to keep your young son’s bedtime ritual as consistent as possible.
Parents know that girls and boys are different in lots of ways. What many parents don’t realize is that bedwetting can be more emotionally upsetting for a girl at a younger age than it is for a boy. Dr. F. C. Verhulst, a noted psychiatrist and researcher, made the case some years ago to change the diagnostic criteria of bedwetting treatment to age 5 for girls and age 8 for boys because he thought the epidemiology (the branch of medicine that deals with the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations) was so different between the two sexes.
In other words, more uncommon for your daughter to wet the bed at age 5 than it is for your son. Girls, especially older girls, are also more likely to try to fix the problem themselves as the emotional sensitivity can lead to embarrassment even from you as the parent. If you find your daughter has been wetting the bed but didn’t want to get help from you, it might be an idea to leave some towels and a spare set of pajamas somewhere within reach for future cases while letting her know that you are here to help if she needs you.
One reason bedwetting can become a more serious problem for girls, is that they often start having sleepovers at quite a young age. Girls tend to enjoy social time with friends more than boys and if your daughter knows she has a problem with bedwetting she might avoid sleepovers because she is worried about embarrassing herself. One solution for this scenario is for you, as the parent, to get involved and have a chat with the parents of the child having the sleepover, letting them know that there may just be a bedwetting incident. If this is done subtly, the possibility of embarrassment in front f her peers may just be avoided. There are 10 bedwetting facts that parents should know to help them understand the situation that they are dealing with.
1. The medical term for bedwetting is “enuresis,” which refers to bedwetting that is not due to an abnormality of any portion of the urinary tract. Primary enuresis means the child has never been dry, whereas secondary enuresis is the term used for a child who has previously been dry but then starts wetting his bed. Bedwetting is sometimes referred to as “nocturnal enuresis” or “night wetting. Sometimes it’s called “sleep wetting,” since some children may also “nap wet. ” Bedwetting really should be called “sleep wetting” because it occurs during sleep.
2. Fifteen percent of five-year-olds or around three to four children in a first grade class are not dry every night. Eighty-five percent of children eventually outgrow bedwetting without treatment. In the teenage years, only two to five percent of children, or one child per class, continue to wet their bed. Bedwetting boys outnumber girls by a ratio of 4 to 1.
3. Bedwetting is not an emotional or psychological problem, or does it reflect a dysfunctional family. It is a problem of sleeping too deeply to be aware of bladder function.
4. The genetics of bedwetting are similar to that of obesity If both parents were bed wetter’s, the child has a seventy- percent chance of being a bed wetter. If only one parent was wet at night, the child will have a forty- percent chance of following his parent’s nocturnal habit.
5. It helps to first understand how children usually achieve bladder control. In early infancy, bladder-emptying occurs mostly by the bladder- emptying reflex. When the bladder reaches certain fullness and the muscle has stretched to a certain point, these muscles automatically squeeze to empty the bladder. Sometime between 18 months and 2? years, most children have an awareness of bladder fullness, the first step toward bladder control. Next, the child becomes aware that he can consciously inhibit the bladder-emptying reflex and hold in his urine. As a result of his urine-holding efforts, his bladder stretches and its capacity increases. When the child can consciously inhibit the bladder-emptying reflex, he achieves daytime bladder control. Nighttime control occurs when the child can unconsciously inhibit the bladder-emptying reflex.
6. Think of bedwetting as a communication problem: the bladder and the brain don’t communicate during sleep. The bedwetting child literally sleeps through his bladder signals. Delay in bladder control can occur if there is a delay in awareness of bladder fullness, a small bladder, or the bladder-emptying reflex continues to be strong well into later childhood. These components of bladder maturity occur at different ages in different children. Bedwetting is simply a developmental lag in the mastering of a bodily skill. There are late walkers, late talkers, and late dry-nights.
7. Bedwetting is a sleep problem New insights into the cause of bedwetting validate what observant parents have long noted: “He sleeps so deeply, he doesn’t even know he’s wetting the bed. ” These deep sleepers are not aware of their bladder sensation at nights let alone how to control it. In addition to bed wetter’s sleeping differently, the hormonal control of urination may act differently in some children.
8. Some bed wetter’s may have a deficiency of ADH (anti-diuretic hormone), the hormone that is released during sleep and concentrates the urine so that the kidneys produce less of it during sleep and the bladder doesn’t overfill. 9. Normally, bladder fullness works like supply and demand. The bladder fills with just enough urine at night so that it does not overfill and demand to be emptied. Bed wetter’s may overfill their bladder so the supply outweighs the demand, but because they are sleeping so soundly they just don’t tune into their bladder fullness. 10. A small number of children have small bladders that are more easily overfilled.