Bedwetting (also known as Nocturnal Enuresis) is common in younger children and should not be a major concern as it tends to resolve itself over time. With children who are over the age of 5, if the condition persists, it is advisable to initially consult a GP to rule out any medical condition which could be causing the symptom.
In the UK, it's estimated that about:
- 1 in 12 children wet the bed regularly at four and a half years old (regularly is defined as at least twice a week)
- 1 in 40 children wet the bed regularly at seven and a half years old
- 1 in 65 children wet the bed regularly at nine and a half years old
Bedwetting is slightly more common in boys than girls. (1)
It has been estimated that nocturnal enuresis is present in approximately 10 per cent of 5 year olds, 4 percent of 8 year olds and 1 percent of 14 year olds (2)
Why do children wet the bed?
Nocturnal enuresis can be the result of a physical condition, but may also be the result of a developmental delay in the maturation of the nervous system, alone or in combination with a stressor. Approximately 70 per cent of children will have a close relative who has been enuretic, suggesting a possible genetic cause (3)
Bedwetting could be caused by your child:
- producing more urine than their bladder can cope with.
- having an overactive bladder, meaning it can only hold a small amount of urine
- being a very deep sleeper so they don't react to the signals telling their brain their bladder is full
- stressful anxiety-provoking events in the child’s life such as being bullied or moving to a new school
Hypnotherapy for Bedwetting
If conventional treatment from your GP with drugs or restricting liquids before bedtime has not proved to be successful then you may want to consider hypnotherapy to resolve bedwetting.
Whether the original cause is emotional or developmental, an unconscious mindset or habit can evolve which can play an important part in perpetuating the symptom. Many children who wet the bed are deep sleepers and they don’t respond to signals from the bladder that it is full. They may also feel, after many years, that it is a habit over which they have no control and their expectation is that they will wet the bed.
Hypnotherapy for bedwetting aims to support the behavioural change at an unconscious level – helping the child read the signals more clearly from the bladder when it is full even if they are deeply asleep. It also helps the child change his/her mindset and begin to focus on and expect dry nights. Therapy also aims to help your child cope with any associated stress factors which may be contributing to the issue.
In one small randomised controlled trial, hypnotherapy appeared to be as effective as imipramine , a tricyclic antidepressant often prescribed for enuresis. (4)
Please do give me a call to discuss your child’s situation to see if I may be of help.
1. Information retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Bedwetting/Pages/Introduction.aspx
2. Essen J and Peckham C (1978) Nocturnal enuresis in childhood Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 18(5): 577-589
3. Von Gontard A, Schaumburg H, Hollman E, Eiberg H and Rittig S (2001) The genetics of enuresis: a review The Journal of Urology 166(6): 2438-2443
4. Banerjee S, Srivastav A, Palan BM. Hypnosis and self-hypnosis in the management of nocturnal enuresis: a comparative study with imipramine therapy. Am J Clin Hypnos 1993;36:113-9.