A great post by Dr Steve Hodges that describes why Jennifer and I are so passionate about seeing and treating kids and their families for all the presentations of pediatric bowel and bladder support….
The Second Worst Thing a Doctor Can Do About Bedwetting
The very worst thing a doctor can do to a child who wets the bed is to shame or blame the patient. Sadly, this happens all the time, which is why I wrote Bedwetting and Accidents Aren’t Your Fault.
But the second worst thing a doctor to a bedwetting patient is to normalize the accidents.
These days, “bedwetting is normal” has become a mantra among physicians, overtaking “your child is acting out.” This is progress, but it’s still disconcerting, because bedwetting is not normal. Considering it so deprives children of treatment that will solve the problem.
I have a Google alert set for “bedwetting” and constantly read blog posts from doctors assuring parents that bedwetting is normal. These posts get widely shared, which makes them more damaging than any private conversation between doctor and patient.
One pediatrician recently posted that some children “bedwet up until the age of 15, and yet we consider that normal.” If your child is having frequent bedwetting around age 9 or 10, she continued, “that’s a great time to bring it up with your pediatrician or family physician.”
In reality, that’s 5 years later than you should bring it up to your pediatrician.
But even if you do bring up the issue to your pediatrician when your child is in kindergarten, you may not get help. Most pediatricians will dismiss a 4- or 5-year-old who wets the bed and/or has daytime accidents. They’ll assure the child, “Don’t worry, you’ll outgrow it.” They’ll tell parents the child’s “bladder hasn’t caught up to his brain” or the child is a “deep sleeper.”
Fact is, almost all children age 4 or older who wet the bed do so because they are chronically constipated. Their stool-stuffed rectums are pressing against and aggravating their bladders.
Children who also have daytime accidents are even more severely constipated. Research shows these are the kids least likely to outgrow accidents without aggressive treatment. I discuss this research in “Don’t Assume Your Child Will Outgrow Bedwetting.”
For their accidents to resolve, these kids need to be cleaned out daily, with osmotic laxatives, such as we use. Only then will the rectum shrink back to size, regain tone and sensation, and stop bothering the bladder.
I am glad that among medical doctors, shaming and blaming children is on the decline. But those who promote the “bedwetting is normal” line of thinking also do damage, despite their good intentions.