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Nathan Jones

Bedwetting can lead to low self-esteem in children

Some 46,000 children in Ireland suffer from bedwetting, a treatable medical condition, and many have low self-esteem as a direct result, a new survey has found.

A SURVEY ON bedwetting has found that children who have the condition suffer from low self-esteem as a direct result.  Some 46,000 Irish children are affected by the treatable medical condition, according to who launched its ‘No More Nappies’ campaign today.

The survey, carried out in conjunction with the parenting website, found that over 50 per cent of those questioned said that nappies were the main treatment used for children who wet the bed.  Sixty-seven  per cent of those surveyed said as a result of the condition their child would not stay at a friend’s house overnight and 41 per cent won’t have friends stay for a sleepover with them.

Bedwetting is a condition that causes a child’s bladder to overfill while sleeping and usually becomes a problem between ages five and ten affecting boys more than girls and it can also run in families, according to the website.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign today, clinical psychologist David Coleman said bedwetting can be a distressing condition for a child:

Putting them in nappies, or pull-ups, and hoping that the problem will disappear is not the best way to address the issue and could lead to your child suffering from low self-esteem as a result.  Lifestyle choices such as ensuring your child goes to the toilet before bed and reducing acidic or caffeine drinks before bedtime may help considerably. It can also really help to talk to your GP because there are medical treatments that you can consider too.

Academic research into nocturnal enuresis (nighttime bedwetting) has found that:

  • the condition is very often hereditary;
  • but in about one-third of cases it is entirely sporadic.

Research by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada found that after treatment children’s “self-concept” (how we think about and evaluate ourselves) improved.  That research also found that “Frequent follow-up with emotional support and encouragement appear to be important components of an efficacious intervention for children with nocturnal enuresis.”

The survey highlights that 44 per cent of parents were unaware that bedwetting is a treatable condition and also that 72 per cent of respondents’ own sleeping pattern was being affected by their child’s bedwetting. Those who may be concerned about the problem and how it can be treated are urged to speak to their GP to determine the best course of action.