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Bedwetting Is Complicated

Bedwetting is a totally involuntary phenomenon, and it is complicated.  Most professionals’ suggestions for cure are based upon a fundamental misunderstanding of bedwetting.

42 years of successfully treating bedwetting has proven that no amount of restricting fluids before bed or trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night will put an end to bedwetting.  Drug therapy is only a temporary “fix” for someone who wets the bed and usually leads to another failure experience.

No amount of self-talk before bed can reduce the profound distance from any level of consciousness that the bedwetter’s sleep creates.

We are forever grateful when a parent is willing to take the time to write about not only their experience with our bedwetting programs, but the frustrations and misdirection that occurred trying to solve the problem.

This mom wrote to her private counselors here at the Enuresis Treatment Center and asked that her son’s story be shared with other parents searching for help to put a permanent end to bedwetting.

Hi Jasmine,

Peyton is very confidential about his journey with Enuresis.  So I will tell the story.  We have been working actively on trying to stop the bedwetting since Peyton was 4.  Around the age of 5 we went to a Pediatric urologist in the area, which they are supposed to be renowned.  All they suggested was to stop drinking fluids close to bedtime and for him to take Miralax to help him go to the bathroom daily so that wasn’t adding to the issue.  They also suggested a medication that was supposed to help and encourage him along.  With hesitation we started the medication, and Peyton ended up with one of the side effects, getting overheated when he was active.  I just didn’t feel right about the medication in the first place, so I stopped it.

I tried doing the recommendations from the urologist, and nothing was working.  We pretty much struggled with it for another 4  years, as close family would tell me that he will just grow out of it and to be patient.  Be patient, really?  Do they have any idea what it is like to wake up 3-5 times a week in the middle of the night and change the sheets?  He didn’t want to wear the underwear (pull ups) he felt humiliated, so we used the disposable bed pads.  It was both tough on us, because I tried so hard not to get mad, but in the middle of the night, you aren’t always rational.  The worst though is how it affected Peyton, he would pretend that it didn’t bother him, but now and again he would just breakdown and cry and ask me if he will ever be able to get married or go to college?  Completely heartbreaking!  Be patient, as my poor son is slowly entering pre-adolescence and he still wets his bed, his self confidence just crushed.   I pursued another option put together by some psychologist in Israel.  He actually had some beneficial tips, his thing had a mat with tiny electric wires, and an alarm system.  The whole deep sleep component however was missing from his method.  We tried that method over and over for a couple of years.  I was struggling and felt horrible for my son, who was now in 5th grade, and they had a science camp activity.  He was only gone for 3 nights, but he literally had cotton underwear with little pads in them shoved in the bottom of his sleeping bag.  So when he got in at night he would put them on.  Then in the morning he would take them off and if wet, he would just run to the common bathroom and throw them away wrapped in a paper towel.  It turned out he really just dribbled in them and left them in the bag, after 2 nights the smell wasn’t too bad, but by the time he got home I could tell it needed to be changed.   This was so tough for him socially, and he is a happy well-liked kid in school, very active and has lots of friends.

As he entered 6th grade, nothing was working, and I was at my wits end.  I stayed up all night researching something that could help him.  Peyton also was diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist with being “overactive” not ADD or ADHD, but very active.  He also has tics, so he was suggested to take some magnesium and B6, that seemed to calm down the tics.  Poor kid, what more could he have to decrease his self-confidence, but he is always happy on the outside, but I know deep down it really hurt him.

He has always been a VERY DEEP sleeper, very groggy in the am, and lots of mumbling at night.  I found your bedwetting program information through a google search online, and you had actual research to back it, and mentioned the connection with the deep sleep and how helping the individual work on achieving healthy sleeping patterns, how this can help with things like over activity, and possible other neurological things.

It took us less than a year, although after 5 months, he really was having episodes that were VERY infrequent.  What a difference from the wetting every night.  You have helped so much in this whole process, you helped me feel that we aren’t the only ones, and Peyton although he would only talk to me about it, it helped him have more self-confidence.  So far, he has been dry completely for almost 4 months now.

We officially graduated a couple of weeks ago.  We got him a new bed, sheets, and comforter.  He is so happy, and his self confidence is up, the other wonderful thing is, his tics are a lot less noticeable and some days I don’t even see them.  We aren’t taking the supplements for them either, so I truly believe it has had a positive effect on them.  We aren’t on the edge of our seat anymore in the middle of the night if I hear something, and in the morning when I wake up, I am no longer feeling his bed to see if it is wet.   You have changed our lives and have helped my sweet son.  I can’t thank you enough.  At one time I felt like it was going to be a lifelong struggle for my son, and to know that it is no longer part of his life, is priceless.  This is the best program for anyone with Enuresis.  Thank you, thank you and THANK YOU!  What a journey, and the fact that we no longer live with it, is beyond words!

Sincerely and forever grateful,

Melissa M
Saratoga, NY

Author Michael Stallsmith, M.A., Sp. A., Director of Treatment

The Enuresis Treatment Center’s Director of Treatment is also a school psychologist.  Michael Stallsmith has, over the past 20 years, been involved in over 20,000 cases.  He is responsible for overseeing the counselors on our staff who work directly with the patients, and he is effective at implementing what’s needed for any challenging situations that may arise during treatment.

Michael continues his outreach with the medical community and school systems educating them about bedwetting and its relationship to the non-arousable sleep disorder.  Michael has been on staff at the Enuresis Treatment Center since 1982.

Click her to learn about our Critical Factors for Success https://nobedwetting.com/critical-factors-success/

Teen Bed Wetting …Why Would A 13-Year-Old Wet The Bed?

“Don’t worry, they will outgrow it”. Is this something you’ve heard before? How many times has the bedwetting teen heard this?  After years of waiting and being frustrated, people are saying they’ve had enough! This is why we continue to see more teenagers and adults enter our program. They don’t want to wait another year.

Your pediatrician is undoubtedly committed to your child’s health and wellbeing, yet wetting the bed is not a medical condition. So without expertise in the field of bedwetting treatment, doctors are often telling families to wait, and this can come with a price.

There may also be well-meaning family members or friends who suggest to wait. Or perhaps you, yourself, had outgrown bedwetting, and it seemed logical to wait for your child to outgrow it as well.

Yet outgrowing bedwetting is not a certainty. In fact, if it should happen, doing so may be counterproductive to one’s health. More about that in a moment.

We know what bedwetters and their families are experiencing with the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month challenge of waiting…of having to even think about bedwetting. The costly disposable diapers, the wet sheets, the labor to clean the sheets; living with the resignation, guilt, and confusion. This causes stress, of course, and it’s actually unnecessary and can be ended. We imagine you’re feeling relieved to hear that.

We’ve heard hundreds of stories of despair over the years, and we’d like to share one here that highlights the impact of holding on to the hope that bedwetting will be outgrown.

We are focusing on teen bedwetting. Since the average of our patients is 15. So here’s the story about 13-year-old Ben.

Imagine you’re a boy of 13 who is in middle school with lots of friends, and you excel in sports. Your academic, family, and personal life are all going well. Yet you live every day with a secret–one that you have been keeping for most of your life.

There have also been limitations and consequences for you that are hidden from others. Perhaps you’ve had to turn down invitations to sleepovers and avoid camp stays, and your friends began to wonder why. Slowly they stopped inviting you, and your world got smaller and disconnected.

You had reached a point where you pleaded with your mom to stop asking the doctor for bedwetting help during your Well Visit. After all, what’s the point? All you keep hearing is “Wait, Ben…you’ll outgrow it. You will not have to wet the bed for long. One day you’ll just suddenly stop. Can’t say when, though”. Surely it’s discouraging and embarrassing to talk about your bedwetting any further.

In the back of your mind, you must be feeling helpless. Maybe you’re resigned to thinking you’ll have to live with the hardships of bedwetting for the rest of your life.

“Why can’t a doctor fix this”?

Going to bed every night is difficult knowing that when you open your eyes in the morning, you’ll feel the cold, wet bed or diaper, and you may start your day discouraged. We are guessing you’re feeling unrested as well. This is another sign of the sleep disorder at the heart of the bedwetting issue.

Let’s explore that assertion here.

With 42 years as bedwetting specialists, we clearly understand the relationship between a deep, heavy sleep pattern and bedwetting. In fact, our entire process is based on a groundbreaking study that was discovered by our founder, Barbara Moore, in 1976. This was the breakthrough that was needed to stop bed wetting for our founder, Barbara Moore’s daughter, for whom the protocol was developed.

In 1969 when a foremost sleep researcher by the name of Dr. Roger Broughton had identified what he called the non-arousable sleep disorder, he proved the pattern of sleep for a bedwetter is far different from healthy (non-bedwetting) sleep. For the healthy sleeper, the body actually goes through various sleep cycles. We cycle from light to deep (Stage 1 to Stage 4), then enter a lighter stage known as REM (dream sleep), and then we begin all over again. This cycle occurs approximately every 90-120 minutes, and this is what creates restful sleep and ensures the brain is appropriately nourished and responsive.

Such is not the case with the specific pattern of sleep that produces bedwetting. Dr. Broughton spent years studying sleep and validating why bedwetting happens. This is why our approach is based on his findings and why it’s working. It’s based in science. Our program has been highly successful since we have been treating patients from this proven perspective. When a 13-year-old like Ben falls asleep, they drop into a very deep, heavy sleep and stall rather than cycle. He remains in this very hard sleep much longer than is required, and it can rob him of the opportunity for restorative, restful sleep. It’s actually a sleep deficiency. Anytime there’s a deficit in any given situation in life, it has a negative effect. So imagine if someone is experiencing bad sleep every night of their life? Parents of a seven year old cannot image the possibility of their child experiencing teen bedwetting. Yet it’s a real concern, and it gets increasingly more detrimental as time goes on.

For tweens and teens, sleep is even more important. “One possible implication of our study is that if you lose too much sleep during adolescence, especially chronically, there may be lasting consequences in terms of the wiring of the brain,” according to investigator Chiara Cirelli, MD, PhD, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health. “Adolescence is a sensitive period of development during which the brain changes dramatically. There is a massive remodeling of nerve circuits, with many new synapses formed and then eliminated.”

Let’s take a moment to take a closer look into the stage of REM sleep.

  • REM sleep important to the health of the brain for many reasons, including the creation of long-term memories.
  • REM sleep also increases brain activity, promotes learning, and creates dreams.
  • REM is also attributed to the fact that during this phase of sleep, your brain exercises important neural connections which are key to mental and overall well-being and health.

It’s also imperative for us to mention that not having the normal cycling of sleep stages—not accessing REM sleep regularly throughout the night and thus creating the sleep deficit–can also pose challenges during waking hours, as you can imagine. Waking up wet and tired, a bedwetter faces the day differently. Now they have to go to school and interact, and also be expected to perform to full potential. This can be quite difficult. In fact, many difficulties that a bedwetter faces—including ADD and ADHD—are not often traced back to the sleep disorder by professionals. It’s not a lack of competency; it’s a lack of proper knowledge. Therefore, challenges persist–if not increase—over time. Even if doing well academically, there is the underlying and increasingly challenging sleep issue which expresses itself more obviously over time.

Also worthy of noting: We have seen over the years that as a child continues to wet and becomes more acutely aware of their challenges and feeling “different” or even defeated, they tend to withdraw from social activities that are important to them, but are now feeling too uncomfortable to participate in.

We mentioned that outgrowing bed wetting can be counterproductive to one’s health. That’s because IF somebody happens to outgrow the bedwetting issue, the sleep disorder remains, and other symptoms can emerge over time such as sleep apnea, sleep walking, night terrors, excessive snoring, teeth grinding, etc. There can be unpleasant life-altering consequences to each of these. Changing the pattern of sleep is not only going to stop bedwetting, it’s also going to prevent any other symptoms from developing.

Our experience has shown that once the sleep pattern has been impacted and there’s normal cycling, as Dr. Broughton references, healthy sleep cycling has a chance to take root. You begin to see significant improvements, such as with disposition, focus, concentration, energy expenditure, alertness, connection, etc.

When a patient is free of detrimental sleep and achieving good sleep for the first time in their lives, positive benefits abound. Besides, it’s rewarding to see your child start their day in a dry bed and knowing you made that difference for them. And what an enormous difference they will feel!

Working 42 years as bedwetting specialists, we have helped thousands of children, tweens, teens—and yes, adults–who continue wetting the bed. We find most of our adult patients have led solitary, isolated lives hiding in shame. This is sad and unfortunate considering that nobody has to live with bedwetting. Nobody.

83% of parents of 9-16 year olds tell us that they regret following their physician’s advice to wait. They reported feeling misled and dismissed. You can see the impact that the hoping, wishing, and waiting can have. We are here to ensure that our patients experience the sleep they are born to have—need to have–and the dry bed every morning that they deserve to have.

GaileGaile Nixon,
International Director and First Patient of ETC

Outgrow Bedwetting – When Do They Outgrow It?

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My son is 8 and wets the bed a few times each week. We have tried a variety of things to help prevent it from happening, including stopping beverages two hours before bedtime and using a mattress pad with a bed-wetting alarm. Should we take him to see a specialist? Don’t kids usually outgrow bed-wetting by this age?

Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Patricio Gargollo’s response (see below) of an 8 year-old who wets the bed was helpful but at the same time contains important inaccuracies that we wish to correct.

Dr Gargollo is correct when she states that bedwetting is not a medical problem and that there is no need for medical involvement to deal with it.  

  1. However, she is incorrect when she writes that, “most children outgrow bedwetting when they reach adolescence”.  While some do, many do not.  Bedwetting can continue well into adulthood or never spontaneously end.  We have worked with thousands of individuals who continued to experience bedwetting, never achieving the dry bed.
  1. Allowing a child a child to “outgrow” the problem may sound comforting and benign.  However, Dr Gargollo fails to consider the massive psychological distress and possible life long psychological consequences that can impact a child the longer he/she suffers with the disorder.

Her mentioning of the possible anxiety a bedwetter might experience speaks to her lack of appreciation about the stress the disorder can cause.

While it is true that bedwetting is not a life threatening disorder, if untreated it creates venerability to shame, low self esteem, feeling “different” feeling failure and a profound fear of discovery.  Someone who wets the bed always wonder why he or she fail at something that “everybody else can do”.

Children who wet the bed live in fear of sleepovers, overnight camp or any circumstance where their problem is open to discovery by their peers.  In our experience, we have encountered horror stories regarding merciless teasing, harassment and rejection of bedwetters by their peers.

Very importantly, a large percentage of child who experience bedwetting suffer from daytime control problems that intensifies their terror about discovery and their sense of shame.

So, “waiting to outgrow it” sounds simple and benign.  It isn’t!  Parental support by comforting the child helps but cannot keep the child safe from bedwetting threats to his/her psychological well being.

Dr. Gargollo is correct when she writes that, “bedwetting tends to be more common in children who are heavy sleepers”.

  1. However, she is only partially correct.  In our 42 years of treating bedwetting for children and teenagers, we know that in 98% of the time, the real bedwetting cause is because of a deep sleep disorder that disrupts the brain bladder connection that the doctor mentioned.  We use the following mantra: “all deep sleepers are not bedwetters but all bedwetters are deep sleepers.”

The deep sleep/bedwetting connection was discovered in 1969 by Dr. Roger Broughton at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.  His ground-breaking research confirms that deep sleep, while necessary in the healthy sleep cycle, occurs much more often than it should for someone who experiences bedwetting. The sleep is so deep, sound, heavy that it fails to automatically direct the bladder muscle to remain closed when it receives the bladder’s signal to empty.  It simply cannot be sufficiently aroused by the bladder’s signal and therefore it fails to do its job.

The deep sleep/bedwetting connection is not anecdotal.  We have seen it in almost virtually all of our successfully treated patients over the past forty years.  Our findings have been confirmed by articles published in well-regarded journals of pediatric medicine.

In addition, the deep sleep disorder that causes bed wetting is almost always inherited.  The thousands of history’s we have taken reveal chronic bedwetting history always contains a blood relative who has experienced enuresis.  

Dr. Gargollo is correct when she states “there is nothing the child can or cannot do to prevent bed wetting and you should never punish a child when it happens”.  Children and teenager never “want” to wet the bed, nor are they too lazy to stop it.  They simply cannot control the faulty deep sleep/bladder connection.  They suffer because of this.

  1. The doctor is quite incorrect when she writes, “limiting liquids before bedtime and using a bedwetting alarm may help and are reasonable steps to take”.
  2. She is also incorrect when she writes, “it often takes two weeks to see any response and up to 12 weeks to enjoy completely dry nights”.

If this were true, enuresis would be eradicated and withholding fluids before bedtime and using bed wetting alarms would be the same cure for bedwetting as Dr. Salk’s vaccine is for polio.

Bed wetting alarms alone do not awaken the child from this profoundly deep, heavy, sound sleep. The arousal disorder that is the cause of bedwetting will not allow a bedwetting alarm alone to fully awaken the child and will not end the problem.  

So many of our children’s parents report that their child could sleep through vacuuming, a severe thunderstorm or a very loud voice urging them to wake up.  School mornings can be fraught with frustration.

Dr. Gargollo is correct when she writes that “medications are available that can slow nighttime urine production, calm the bladder or change a child’s sleeping and waking pattern”.  She is even more correct when she writes, “these medications do not cure bedwetting.  When a child stops taking them, the bedwetting typically comes back”.

  1. She fails to mention that these medications can have serious side effects that can compromise overall biological functioning.  We have thousands of cases we have confirmed that bedwetting is not the result of too much urine production or an overactive bladder.

We have devoted 42 years putting a stop to bedwetting and have seen many so called bedwetting solutions come and go.  A vast majority of our patients have experienced deep disappointment at the hands of these bedwetting solutions before reaching out to a real bedwetting expert.

Source: https://www.nobedwetting.com

Dr. Patricio Gargollo answer to the above question

ANSWER: bedwetting is common in children your son’s age, especially boys. Most of those children outgrow bed-wetting without any medical care by the time they reach adolescence. If he’s not having any other urinary associated problems, such as accidents during the day or urinary tract infections, it’s not necessary to take your son to see a doctor. If you notice other medical problems that could be connected to the bed-wetting, however, then an appointment with your son’s primary health care provider would be a good idea.

Toilet training is a complicated process. The sequence of events that must happen in both the brain and the bladder, and the connection between the two, for a child’s body to regulate bladder function effectively during the day and at night can take several years.

Many children have no trouble staying dry during the day and yet have persistent nighttime wetting. It’s not clear why some children have problems with bladder control at night, while others do not. But bed wetting tends to be more common in children who are heavy sleepers.

There is nothing a child can or cannot do to prevent bed-wetting, and you should never punish a child when it happens. The techniques you’re using to try to curb bed-wetting — limiting liquids before bedtime and using a bed-wetting alarm — may help and are reasonable steps to take. Just be patient as you work with your son, and try not to become discouraged if the problem doesn’t stop. It usually takes time. For example, with a bed-wetting alarm, it often takes at least two weeks to see any response and up to 12 weeks to enjoy completely dry nights.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your son’s health care provider: unusual straining during urination, a small or narrow stream of urine, dribbling after urination, cloudy or pink urine, bloodstains on underpants or nightclothes, redness or a rash in the genital area, or daytime as well as nighttime wetting. Also, talk to his health care provider if your son is having pain or a burning sensation when he urinates. These symptoms could signal a urinary tract infection, or a bladder or kidney problem. In some cases, accidents during the day as well as at night may be an early sign diabetes, although that is uncommon.

If your son hides wet underwear or bedding to conceal wetting, or if he seems particularly stressed about it, talk to his health care provider about ways you may be able to help your son feel less anxious about bed-wetting.

Rarely, prescription medication may be used to control bed-wetting. Medications are available that can slow nighttime urine production, calm the bladder or change a child’s sleeping and waking pattern. These medications do not cure bed-wetting. When a child stops taking them, the bed-wetting typically comes back.

Keep in mind that most children eventually outgrown bed-wetting. Often, all that is needed is time, support, understanding and patience. — Dr. Patricio Gargollo, Pediatric Urology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Also read: Light at the end of the tunnel

Deep Sleep Bedwetting – 16 Year Old Robbed of Childhood

Deep Sleep Bedwetting robs granddaughter of her childhood.

A grandmother recently called our bed wetting clinic regarding her 16 year­-old granddaughter. She shared through her tears that the deep sleep bedwetting has “robbed” her granddaughter of her childhood.

When she visits her grandmother, she sleeps on the floor because she doesn’t want to “ruin another mattress”. She has refused to attend sleepovers because of feeling embarrassed, and over time, her group of friends stopped inviting her.

She refused to spend any time with boys showing interest in her.

She’s always felt she was “different in a bad way” often remarked that all she does is disappoint everyone. This is not uncommon for us to hear. We admit that we are always stunned to hear about this kind of trauma, but we are not surprised by it, either. Bed wetting all by itself— without even discussing the devastating effects of the deep sleep disorder causing it—is burdensome, stressful, frustrating, and deeply impactful to one’s self­-esteem! And our self- esteem helps shape how we relate to others and how we see the world around us.

This grandmother felt heart­broken for her granddaughter for having to experience something that produces sadness or shame or guilt. She told us that if she could end her granddaughter’s bedwetting forever, it would be the gift that keeps on giving for a lifetime.

We’ve been honored and privileged to see miracles happen for thousands of people over the years. 41 years to be exact. I should know… I was the first patient. When my mom ended my deep sleep bedwetting, my whole life opened up and I began to feel good about myself for the first time! And that’s when she decided to bring this program —and the miracles — to the world around us!

We invite you to call us today – 800-379-2331.

GaileGaile Nixon,
International Director and First Patient of ETC

Another Example of Misconceptions About Bed Wetting

Misconceptions-About-Bed-Wetting

In a recent television episode of The Doctors, bedwetting was described as the result of a medical disorder such as diabetes or other neurological conditions. Despite the apparent expertise of the participants on the show, they again displayed their lack of knowledge about the disorder. Less than 1.5% of bedwetting is the result of an underlying medical problem.

Bedwetting is the result of an inherited deep sleep disorder that leads to the breakdown in the communication between the brain and the bladder during sleep. The deep sleeping brain does not arouse to the bladders signal to empty. Without the signal from the brain to keep the bladder muscle (sphincter) closed, it opens and a wet bed results. It is that simple and that powerful.

The six-year-old little girl who had daytime “accident” is highly likely suffering form bedwetting, which frequently produces weak bladder muscles, strong, intense, bladder urgencies and involuntary urination. The child was humiliated by school officials because they believe she behaved intentionally.   Humiliating her on the bus was their way of “teaching her a lesson”. Instead, their actions represent an example of the psychological abuse that bedwetters suffer at the hands of people who do not understand the disorder.

Also see: Bed Wetting Approach of “Wait and See” Outdated

Doctor Gail Gross’s explanation regarding “potty shaming” is well intended and compassionate. However, it again misses the mark regarding the cause and treatment of bedwetting.

Check out the video “Have You Ever Had a Bedwetting Dream Turn Real?”

Author: Dr Lyle Danuloff Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and past President of the Michigan Psychological Association. Dr. Danuloff is an international expert in the field of enuresis. He is a consulting psychologist at The Enuresis Treatment Center.