Many kids go through a bedwetting stage, so if you’re the parent of a young child who wets the bed sometimes, there’s no cause for alarm. Bladder control is just another thing children have to learn, and it can sometimes take longer than parents would like.
But by age 10, the vast majority of children do have bladder control, so if bedwetting continues beyond this age it may be worth looking into. Bedwetting may not just be a nuisance, but a sign of something else going on with your child. Here are some of the lesser-known causes of bedwetting that go beyond bladder control.
Causes of Bedwetting
Sleep disorders: Sleep disorders can occur at any age, including childhood. If your child displays other signs of disturbed sleep, including snoring, mouth breathing, daytime sleepiness, and behavioural problems, look into the possibility of a sleep disorder being the underlying cause.
Low levels of ADH: Anti-diuretic hormone is released during Stage III sleep and tells the kidneys to make less urine, meaning the bladder doesn’t fill during the night and trigger the urge to go. When levels of ADH are low, which may be the result of disturbed sleep or other disorders, the kidneys don’t get the message and the bladder fills as usual.
Constipation: When the bowels are full, they can reduce the capacity of the bladder and put pressure on it, leading to bedwetting.
Problems with the bladder or urinary tract: Urinary tract infections, problems with the urinary tract itself, and deformities of the bladder aren’t common, but can cause bedwetting.
Problems with the spinal cord: The spinal cord is what allows the brain and bladder to communicate, and if there’s damage or dysfunction anywhere along the messaging route, this can lead to bedwetting.
Deep sleeping: This cause is reported by parents, who say that their bedwetting child is an exceptionally deep sleeper. They may simply not get the message to wake up to go to the bathroom when it’s time.
How a Dentist Can Cure Bedwetting
You may be surprised to learn that in some situations, dental treatment is the key to solving your child’s bedwetting. I do it frequently in my practice.
I do this by treating underlying issues with the mouth and airway that lead to mouth breathing. Although mouth breathing may seem harmless, it’s actually not the best way of getting air into our lungs, and it can cause reduced oxygen saturation in the brain. It’s associated with many things, including:
- Tooth grinding
- Nightmares or night terrors
- Restless sleep
- Restless leg syndrome
- Daytime fatigue
- Problems in school
- Increased ADHD diagnosis
By diagnosing and treating the problems with the mouth and airway, it’s possible to eliminate these symptoms. Sometimes allergies or adenoids are the underlying cause of airway problems, which can be treated by an appropriate medical doctor. Other times, dental or orthodontic treatment can open up the airway and end mouth breathing.
Getting Help for Your Child’s Bedwetting
Bedwetting can be an irritation to parents and a great source of embarrassment and anxiety for older children. Just know that in the vast majority of cases, it is something that has a clear cause and can be treated. Look out for signs and symptoms in your child that might tell you what the underlying cause is so you can seek the appropriate care, whether that’s with a medical doctor or a dentist.