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Girl In Bed, I'move, I'move Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Near Me, Bed Wetting, Pelvic Health

Things to Know About Bedwetting and How to Address it

By Dr. Brooke Meinema, PT, DPT, FAFS, PCES

The most common cause of pediatric bedwetting is constipation!

How can it be constipation? My kid poops every day! Even if your child poops every day, it does not mean the bowel is able to completely empty. Excess fecal matter left in the bowels can stretch out the rectum and put pressure on the bladder as well as the nerves surrounding the bladder leading to bedwetting. If your child has been having issues with bedwetting, getting an abdominal x-ray can be helpful to rule in or out if constipation is the culprit. If this is the problem, managing their bowel health is going to be a big factor in getting your kids to have dry nights!

Some kids will not simply outgrow bedwetting.

  • If your child is still wetting the bed by age 9, research suggests there is a 70% chance they will still have issues with bedwetting at age 19!
  • This problem affects 1-2% of teenagers in the US.
  • This should be managed sooner rather than later. If your child is still regularly wetting the bed after the age of 4, looking into reasons this may be occurring is an important next step. Managing this problem earlier rather than later can not only lead to quicker improvements but can also have a huge impact on their mental health!

Enemas have a higher success rate than medication or bed alarms.

  • Since we know constipation is the number one cause of pediatric bedwetting, managing this will be the most important thing you can do. Helping to clear out the bowels reduces the pressure on the bladder and surrounding nerves leading to dry nights and happy days. Simply treating the symptoms is not addressing the cause of the problem.

What can you do to help improve this?

  1. Manage constipation:
    1. As I mentioned before, the first step should be addressing any issues with constipation. If the pressure remains on the bladder and nerves, the problem is likely to return. Manage their diet, fiber intake, hydration, and keep them moving to help prevent back-ups.
  2. Avoid bladder irritants:
    1. Certain foods and drinks can be agitating to the bladder. If the urine becomes more acidic or the pH changes, the bladder may be trying to force the urine out. Avoid foods and drinks that are highly acidic, carbonation, spicy foods, and caffeine.
  3. Time your child’s fluids:
    1. It is important to drink regularly throughout the day to keep your body well hydrated, but you don’t want your child to chug all their fluids in one sitting.
    2. Avoid drinking too many fluids just before bedtime. Some kids like using a glass of water or milk as a way to prolong their bedtime routine, but maybe instead of getting a glass of water, use that time to just sit and talk about their day.
  4. Have them empty their bladder throughout the day:
    1. Many kids don’t want to stop playing to use the bathroom, so they will hold their bladder until they are ready to burst. This can create issues with their body’s ability to regulate just how much urine they have in their bladder and doesn’t give their body enough time to wake up and get to the bathroom before they are ready to burst. Make sure they are taking regular bathroom breaks throughout the day (shoot for 6 bathroom breaks a day).
      1. It may be necessary to talk to their teachers. If they are not allowed regular bathroom breaks at school, this can create setbacks. Have an open discussion with the teacher about what your child has been working on to make a plan with them.
    2. Avoid power peeing! If they are wanting to get back to playing, they may try to pee as fast as they can. This can train their bodies to quickly expel urine and also lead to pelvic floor weakness.
  5. Don’t get frustrated:
    1. This can be a very embarrassing and frustrating thing for you child to experience, so it is important that everyone understands this is not because they are doing something wrong or being bad. Bedwetting can take a toll on their mental health, so being there for them and checking in is important.


Still not finding success? Talk with a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor therapy. They may be able to help you navigate potential causes and solutions. Call us today to request a free phone consultation!

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