Wetting the bed

What to do if your 8-year-old is still wetting the bed

Q: At eight years old, our son is still wetting the bed. We have tried limiting his fluid intake before bed and getting him up in the middle of the night to use the washroom, but that has not worked. Our paediatrician prescribed a medication called DDVAP — and that also did not work. Now a new paediatrician is recommending our son see a chiropractor. Will he just grow out of the bedwetting, or should he see the chiropractor?

A: First, I must say I am surprised that the paediatrician recommended a chiropractor to treat your son’s bedwetting. There are no proper scientific trials supporting the use of chiropractic care for this problem. Bedwetting, or enuresis, is a common problem that seems to run in families (try to think of other cases in your and your spouse’s families) and the causes are quite complex, often related to sleep and neurological developments. It affects boys more than girls: By age five, 20 percent still wet the bed and by age 10, that number is five percent. If your son’s urine has been checked for infection and other problems, he doesn’t wet during the day and has never been fully dry at night, it is unlikely that there is any serious physical problem. Children often don’t become concerned about bedwetting until age seven or eight — and some even later, if their parents are relaxed about it. Because this problem often goes away with time, you must be careful not to be too aggressive with treatment. If your son is distressed, I would make certain the DDVAP was used in proper doses; then you might try a system of alarms to prompt him to empty his bladder during the night. By that point, the problem may have even resolved on its own.