Expert offers bedwetting solutions

Bedwetting more common than parents, children realize

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bedwetting can be embarrassing for a child. When do you need to talk to a doctor? We're getting the answer to that question plus some solutions from a local expert.

Kim Jarczyk manages the Continence Clinic for Nemours Children's Clinic.

"Bedwetting is very common," said Jarczyk.

Statistics show up to 20 percent of 5-year-olds wet their beds, up to 17 percent of 7-year-olds do, too. Five to 7 percent of 12-year-olds and 1 percent of 16-year-olds still also wet their bed.

"There is a strong genetic predisposition to bedwetting," said Jarczyk.

Children of parents who wet their bed as kids, are much more likely to have the same problem as their mother or father. Accidents are expected among children who are still being potty-trained. After about 3-4 years old, these accidents should be less common.

"Children can't help it," said Jarczyk. Children who are constipated or who snore are at a greater risk of having an accident.

When is it time to see a doctor?

Jarczyk, manager of the Continence Clinic, said children who routinely experience wetting or leaking during the day should talk to a doctor.  Another sign to consult a doctor is the child was able to stay dry throughout the night but can't anymore.

Jarczyk said parents should not panic or punish their child.  Occasional bedwetting is not uncommon.  "If the child reaches a point where they say they want it to stop, that's when it is time to talk to someone," said Jarczyk.

At- home solutions:

1. Remove carbonated beverages, caffeine and red food dye from your child's diet. "Remember chocolate has caffeine, " said Jarczyk.  

2. Restrict fluids 2 hours before bedtime. "If their mouth is dry, give them ice chips," suggested Jarczyk.

3. Try to urinate twice before going to bed. This should be right before bedtime.

The Continence Clinic at Nemours Children's Clinic is the first of its kind in the area.  Children from Florida and three other states travel to the Jacksonville clinic for treatment. The clinical staff is specifically trained to work with children. They use a special video game to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles and train children to help control their bladder.

The clinic also has specialized diagnostic testing and works with urology, gastroenterology and psychology departments to help care for the whole child.

They see patients who are medically complex with several interrelated medical issues, as well as patients who are only having difficulty with bowel and bladder elimination. To learn more about the services offered by the clinic click here.

You can talk with your child's pediatrician for a referral.

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