Bladder problems aren’t always the culprit when it comes to bedwetting, a new study finds.
Constipation is often the real cause of the nighttime condition, according to new research by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. And if isn’t diagnosed properly, children and their parents often suffer through an unnecessarily long, costly and difficult process to cure it.
Wake Forest researchers, reporting online in the journal Urology, found that 30 children and adolescents who sought treatment for bedwetting all had problems with regularity. After being treated with laxatives, 25 of the children -- 83 percent -- were cured of bedwetting within three months.
“Parents try all sorts of things to treat bedwetting -- from alarms to restricting liquids,” said Dr. Steve J. Hodges, an assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest Baptist and the study’s lead author. “In many children, the reason they don’t work is that constipation is the problem.”
Children in the study ranged from 5 to 15 years old. The constipated children were treated with Miralax, a stool softener. Some also were treated with enemas or stimulant laxatives.
Hodges cautioned that any medical therapy for bedwetting should be overseen by a physician.
“The importance of diagnosing this condition cannot be overstated,” Hodges said. “When it is missed, children may be subjected to unnecessary surgery and the side effects of medications. We challenge physicians considering medications or surgery as a treatment for bedwetting to obtain an X-ray or ultrasound first.”