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The Need to Know About Bedwetting (Enuresis) and How To Stop It

Enuresis is a common problem that affects more than 5 million children in the United States alone. When a child empties their bladder at an inappropriate time and/or place it is called incontinence, but when incontinence happens during the night it is classified as enuresis. Enuresis can be embarrassing, stressful, and can even cause extreme anxiety in children, which can then cause tension within the family. While most children will outgrow enuresis, it’s still important to know the different causes and possible treatment options to discuss with your doctor.

Common Causes
Doctors now believe that the majority of enuresis cases are caused by one, or a combination of the following four conditions.

  • Failure to arouse – this happens when a child does not wake up when their bladder is full or contracts spontaneously.
  • Increased production of urine while asleep – a child’s kidneys make more urine during the night than can be stored within the child’s bladder. This extra urine production is caused by a night-time lack of the hormone vasopressin, which tells the kidneys to decrease urine production.
  • Overactive bladder – the bladder tends to contract without being full leading to a smaller than normal capacity.
  • Social stress – moving to a new place, sleeping alone, starting school or changing to a new one, a family crisis, an accident or trauma can all cause enuresis in children who are genetically predisposed to the condition.

Uncommon Causes
While the following causes aren’t very common reasons for enuresis, they do serve as a reminder to get enuresis symptoms and issues checked by a doctor.

  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Structural or Anatomical Issues
  • Neurological Issues
  • Kidney Disease
  • Hormonal Disorders such as Diabetes or Hypothalamus issues

Treatment Options

  • Stopping/limiting fluids before bedtime – typically one of the first things parents try, just make sure your child is drinking a few extra glasses of water in the morning and at lunch and then limit evening drinking intake to quench thirst only.
  • Dietary changes – enuresis can be caused by constipation, dietary changes or laxatives can eliminate constipation and in return the enuresis as well.
  • Scheduled night waking – while labor intensive and often not recommended, parents wake children 1-3 times during the night to take them to the bathroom.
  • Bladder training exercises – mainly used for adults who suffer with various forms of incontinence, typically not recommended for children.
  • Alternative therapies – acupuncture and hypnotherapy has had encouraging research and results, while homeopathy, herbal remedies, and chiropractic practices have all been tried, but have no proven effects or research to back them.
  • Enuresis alarms – often called wetting alarms are small electronic devices that use a small sensor that attaches to underwear or pajamas that then connects to an alarm clipped to the child’s clothing(wireless options are also available now). When the sensor becomes moist the alarm sounds in hopes of the child waking while the bladder is still full and making it to the bathroom. If it is used correctly the chance of success is approximately 75% after 1-2 months of continuous treatment. Wetting alarms cost around $60 to $120.
  • Desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) – humans naturally produce the hormone vasopressin that causes the body to reduce urine production. In many children with enuresis, this surge of vasopressin is absent, so the vasopressin hormone has been analyzed and synthesized as the drug desmospressin, and is available as a pill, nasal spray, or as an under the tongue option.
  • Medication – there are a few other medications on the market that could help with enuresis, but like any medicine they can come with side effects. The most common side effect for children is constipation, which, in itself, may cause the enuresis to reappear. Be sure to consult with your doctor about all treatment possibilities.

 

“Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis) in Children.” Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis) . Boston Children’s Hospital, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.

“Urology Care Foundation The Official Foundation of the American Urological Association.”Urology Care Foundation. 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.

“When Bed-Wetting Becomes A Problem.” Nation Kidney Foundation. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.

Exploding Head Syndrome – A Scary Sounding Sleep Disorder

Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS) may sound like something you would read straight out of a Sci-Fi novel, but in reality it is a surprisingly common sleep disorder. While EHS is a largely overlooked phenomenon in the medical field, it is estimated that about as many as one in ten people will be effected at some point during their life. People with EHS may only have one attack in their lifetime, while others can experience around seven attacks a night. Many only experience one attack, and some suffer from attacks over weeks or months, and a few will experience attacks daily for years.

Below is a list of common EHS symptoms, if you are experiencing any of these you should consult a doctor or sleep specialist.
• Noises are loud and jarring, resembling the popping sounds of firecrackers or gunshots, the slamming sound of a door closing violently, or the boom of an explosion.
• Sometimes the sounds of EHS are accompanied by flashes of light.
• These sounds may be perceived in one or both ears.
• EHS may also cause a mild headache and sensations of heat.
• J
erk or ‘jumping’ limbs at the same time.
• The disorder is known to be twice as common in women and typically affects ages 50 and older, though it has also been reported in children as young as ten.

The good news is that while EHS can be scary, it is generally harmless. It’s still unclear why EHS happens and what could be causing it. Dr. Sharpless says the most likely explanation for EHS is that there is some kind of temporary blip in the nerve cells of the brain during the switch from being awake to sleeping. When we sleep, our brains coordinate a switching off of various regions responsible for movement, vision, sound and so on. EHS could occur because of a delay in this shut-down process, resulting in a burst of activity, which could be perceived as loud noises and flashes of light. Other possibilities could stem from ear problems or rapid withdrawals from certain drugs such as benxodiazephines and certain types of anti-depressants.

There are drug treatments for EHS that may be effective, but are generally reserved for patients with frequent and prolonged symptoms.

Sorensen, Eric. “‘Exploding Head Syndrome’ a Real, Overlooked Sleep Disorder – WSU News.” WSU News. Washington State University, 6 May 2014. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <https://news.wsu.edu/2014/05/06/exploding-head-syndrome-a-real-overlooked-sleep-disorder/#.VH3QmzHF_d2&gt;.

“Exploding Head Syndrome – Overview & Facts.” Exploding Head Syndrome. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <http://www.sleepeducation.com/sleep-disorders-by-category/parasomnias/exploding-head-syndrome/overview-facts/&gt;.