Teenage bedwetting: Hi I have a 15 year old son and... - ERIC

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Teenage bedwetting

paula13
paula13

Hi I have a 15 year old son and this issue has been going on for years now, the doctor prescribed desmopresin, he seems to go through phases months of being dry then months of every other night wetting the bed. I am now trying an alarm which he doesn’t even wake to 😞😞

30 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi Paula,

Sorry to hear you’re struggling with this. I don’t have any experience of your position (we’re currently trying to get daytime continence under control!).

I just thought I’d ask though, has your son been checked for constipation? I was reading on another website today that it is a very common reason for prolonged bedwetting: bedwettingandaccidents.com/...

paula13
paula13
in reply to Jellyfish0

He doesn’t have any issues with that side of things. It’s so hard as you know there is nothing you can do or any treatments to help this. He finds it hard to talk about it, how old is your son/ daughter?

Jellyfish0
Jellyfish0
in reply to paula13

My son is nearly five so still early days for us.

I was listening to the “Armchair Expert” podcast the other day - the episode with Sarah Silverman. She talked about how she wet the bed until she was 17 (and still occasionally did as young adult). Might be helpful for your son to listen to so he knows he’s not alone in his experience.

I assume sleep apnoea (or enlarged tonsils/adenoids) has also been ruled out?

I hope some other people can chime in with some helpful advice.

paula13
paula13
in reply to Jellyfish0

His sleep pattern hasn’t even been looked into, it’s so hard when you have no one to talk to about it

Sophyk
Sophyk
in reply to paula13

My daughters 14 and wet most nights until last year when she went on desmopressin. She now has one or two accidents per month, which is much more manageable. We’ve found no easy fix, it’s all about making it as easy as possible. Easy wash protective sheets etc. She’s got a leakproof sleeping bag liner for sleepovers just in case, plus several of the same pyjamas so she can change without anyone noticing. She’s not had a terrible experience so far and I figure that’s the main thing.

paula13
paula13
in reply to Sophyk

My son has been on desmopressin for years now, we have had months of dry nights then it suddenly creeps back 😞

Have you had your son's tonsils and adenoids checked out? Sometimes when they are on the large side children do not sleep properly and this causes bed wetting because it is harder for child to reach deep sleep. T

paula13
paula13
in reply to Ned6

Think the problem is he’s so much in a deep sleep he doesn’t wake up

Slice
Slice
in reply to paula13

Paula, while it is fairly common to have trouble waking teens in the morning, it sounds like this is more than that. I would suggest that you have him set up for a sleep study. It's possible, but rare, that he has an abnormal sleep cycle. I've read of one situation that sounds similar with a teen boy, and it turned out that he would only go into 1 cycle of sleep and almost the entire night he would end up in deep sleep. When you are in deep sleep you are unconscious. This is very abnormal and is not good for your child. The other thing you can do is go into his room, and monitor him for a while, or you could put a smart phone on record and leave it in there. What you are listening for is interruptions in his breathing. This is typically unusually heavy snoring or periods where it seems like he's stopped breathing. This is one of the classic signs of obstructive sleep apnea. One of the other clues is him waking up with a sore throat that is not related to illness. Typically it will go away on it's own in a couple of hours. Another is waking up with a start with the sensation of choking.

Hi Paula, I’m feeling your stress. I’m in the same boat as you. My son is 12 and he’s had 3 dry nights in his life and that is when I got the alarm but he doesn’t like that & now I can’t find the sensor for the underwear. He’s on the same tablets as your son for years now too. I buy pull ups every week. I really don’t know what to do as my 9 year old only has 2-3 wet nights a month. I don’t let them drink before bed. And I make sure they both go before getting into bed. Some nights I try to wake him at 3am to get up & go. I’m moving to a new Doctor this week so I’m gonna see what she’ll say. My son is going through the changes now so it’s hard to get him to talk. My son also goes into a deep sleep. The joys of motherhood.

paula13
paula13
in reply to Shar84

I feel for the kids, my son asked the specialist will this stop he said yes.

We’ve had different doctors and all said the same, the specialist says the same. It’s hard when you know there is no cure, I have an alarm but my son takes the batteries out, he doesn’t even hear the alarm when it goes off.

I just don’t know where to go from here😞

halftime
halftime
in reply to paula13

Hi Paula 13. Teen PNE.....

My son is 15 and having a pretty much identical experience to your son. The mantra offered is that it is developmental, will eventually stop and management (desmomelts) ìs what is offered rather than real thought about resolution. I look at my son; facial hair, tall and hasn't grown any taller in a year and I see a man boy, at the end of puberty - not a great deal of development going on there still I feel! PNE is obviously multi-factorial for children predisposed, but my questions in the last 18 months about what may be underlying driving predisposition get little useful input back from Drs on the whole. Constipation big thing. His constipation is now well controlled - a good bowel daily habit he monitors and treats if any change even threatens! However not every person who is constipated wets the bed - so we are not talking a nice tidy cause=effect. Similarly, sleep apnea is very bad for overall health of those suffering but most snorers are not bedwetters although it may be a factor for some children. Obesity can be a factor but most obese children do not wet the bed . The heavy sleeping and is a normal sleep pattern being experienced is interesting. My son is like a drunk person if you wake him at night. As a you g child he was a sleepwalker ( front door open in morning...disappeared from tents when camping..) Now alarms either don't wake him or he literally rips them apart in his desperation to stop them - that is the level of startle caused. At that point he is neither rational nor awake in my view. I have in recent months bought a fitbit type device, primarily to track sleep but with limited success as my son keeps taking it off during the night (It must annoy him but he doesn't consciously take it off - back to the heavy sleeper thing(. Someone mentioned diet and nutrition to you and this is where we have had most promise. Google B12 and effect on PNE/bladder function. Also look up Vitamin D Council website. Also google Omega3 and effect on PNE (less on this)/bladder function/nerve response that kind of thing. I posted about this some time ago to ask if anyone else had looked at this as my son had experienced some extended success with this (and interesting -sleep was more normal at these times). I had replicated success twice and then couldn't t hit the magic combo again. I am tentatively ( very tentatively!)hopeful that we may have replicated again and my error was after a break, to inadvertently substitute cod liver oil instead of fish oil with Omega 3. IF..IF.. If this continues to work for my son this time - again - then it ( in my view) begs the question is it because he is metabolising some minerals and vitamins inefficiently for some reason?. Is it about fat soluable vitamins? I don 't know. What if it is all the other way around? What if, for those who appear treatment resistant to standard good advice, what if for them the 'causes' of PNE are actually symptomatic of something else, of which PNE I actually just another symptom marker? What if, for older children who appear 'treatment' resistant, who despite maintaining optimum bowel habit, avoiding all bladder irritants, no longer drinking or eating for 3+hours prior to sleep, who practice double voiding routinely, who don' t take phon es up to the bedroom - what if for that small sub group something else is driving this abnormal response.?

Out of interest, is your son physically more or less 'man' or still boy? Is he slim/overweight. ?

It would be interesting to know how many other teens there are out there and what factors of commonality they share. For my son, I look with suspicion at family history of various autoimmune diseases, his older sister with misdiagnosed IBSD more recently diagnosed as Bile Acid malabsorbtion and the same sister as couple of years ago diagnosed with Graves Disease but with with pre treatment symptom of wild weight GAIN.

Sorry - loads of questions and probably not one thing actually useful to you. Has he ever had a urodynamic test? Useful to see what is going on in terms of normal/ abnormal voiding.

There’s a web site called “StressNoMore” & I’ve found some helpful things for bedtime on it, I’m due to recivie them today. I’ll let you know more later when I get them. I feel for the boys a lot, my son won’t go on sleepovers only to his dads & my parents as he knows they won’t say anything.

paula13
paula13
in reply to Shar84

Thank you, let me know x

paula13
paula13
in reply to Shar84

How did you get on ?

This is to all here. It's important to maximize your child's self esteem when it comes to bedwetting. This means that kids from the age of 10 or 11 should be managing this on their own (with the exception of purchasing protection). Think doing this with them not to them. They should be able to put on their own protection at night, and be responsible for wet clothing and bedding in the morning. There's a reality here, and it's that the lightweight stuff like Drynites/Goodnites is just not going to work for older kids. The reason? when someone wets the bed, they do so usually several times a night. The volume involved is far more than Drynites/Goodnites can hold. In fact, about the only "class" of protection that will work is what's classified as ATN (all through the night) The best for these are the Tranquility and Molicare brands. If kids are feeling bad about wearing protection, remind them that it is a part of what they can do to manage the situation, and that wearing some sort of protection is not being a baby. Whether they do or not doesn't change the fact that they are still peeing in their sleep. Tranquility has both regular diapers as well as pull ons, and Molicare has regular diapers in ATN. Kids, unless they are physically or intellectually challenged, can learn how to put the diapers on themselves and should be encouraged to do so. This is important for their self esteem in dealing with this. I mean, what do you think your kids would say if on a typical day, you go into your kid's room wake them up and insist on bathing and dressing them? LOL You might want to suggest to them to give it a try. When they realize how much time and work it saves them in getting ready in the morning, most will be more than happy to.

paula13
paula13
in reply to Slice

I honestly do not think my 15 year old would even consider these. Thanks anyway

Slice
Slice
in reply to paula13

Can you be more specific?

Slice
Slice
in reply to paula13

If you're talking about wearing protection, I can understand that, but at the same time, I've dealt with this with several kids (via forums) and when they realized the difference in the ability to not be waking up in a cold, wet bed, their attitude changed. Another thing to consider here and this is for everyone. If you all are going on any type of trip where your children can fall asleep during travel and when sleeping in any other than their own bed, wearing protection is very important along with making sure that mattresses in hotels/motels, or relatives homes are protected. Several reasons for this. First off, being that wetting themselves on a train. plane, bus, can lead to a very embarrassing situation for them. Not only that but how would you feel if you sat down on a seat on public transportation, and discovered that it was soaking wet with someone's urine? For those times, something lighter may work for just 1 wetting and be much easier to hide under clothing. I would suggest that before that trip, have them test what they are going to wear by having them wear one (at home) and then emptying a very full bladder into one to see if it holds everything. So far as sleeping, if you don't have a mattress properly protected at a hotel, you may find a much higher bill at checkout as they may charge you for cleaning/replacing the mattress. For many of the bigger hotels, you can ask about it at the front desk and often times the hotels will put covers on the mattress, or will have mattresses with protection incorporated. Much like hospital mattresses. One other thing to consider here is that if your child is going to a sleep over with a lined sleeping bag, that may keep everything else dry, but they will then have to deal with the odor issue and that will likely give them away. One more thought on protecting mattresses at friends houses and that is to have the hosting mom put the protection on the mattress while the kids are away/out doing something else. Good luck!

I did a lot of bedwetting at 15, and a lot before that. But I was never given desmopressin or the alarm - I wish I had, I'm sure either of those would have worked. Instead I was given nappies for a while, and then a bedwetting specialist drew up a schedule for what times to go to the loo. Neither of those were effective enough. This was 21 years ago, so maybe the remedies you are talking about were not used or recommended back then.

paula13
paula13
in reply to NEBAG

Did it just stop?

NEBAG
NEBAG
in reply to paula13

No, it was a gradual process. It took about a year for me to recover.

paula13
paula13
in reply to NEBAG

He seems to go through phases months ok then months not

NEBAG
NEBAG
in reply to paula13

My bedwetting was linked to my emotional state at the time. That might be the same for him.

Slice
Slice
in reply to NEBAG

That's not at all uncommon in adolescent bedwetters. Stress can cause bedwetting. I have communicated with a number of teens via forums. Some of them from pressures at school, bullying, constantly fighting parents, and one that no one likes to think about and that's sexual abuse. If anyone has a child with secondary NE (bedwetting), meaning that they have been dry as a small child/toddler and then a few years later start wetting again, it may be a sign of one of the above happening. Another clue is in changes in behavior. Trust your maternal instincts and address it, but at the same time don't go off half cocked. Also, make sure that there is not a medical problem such as diabetes, a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or disordered sleep pattern, and so forth.There is increasing evidence that there is a genetic factor in bedwetting for those who do not have an underlying medical reason, or wetting associated with stress.Studies have shown that it's a fairly good bet that if there is a parent, grand parent, aunt or uncle who was/is a bedwetter, that there will be children that will have increased likelihood of wetting. Hope this makes sense.

NEBAG
NEBAG
in reply to Slice

Just for your information, I have written a separate blog post in the ERIC community in which I discuss my experience of bedwetting in more detail.

Slice
Slice
in reply to paula13

Paula13, I might suggest to you that you and your son work on investigating this as it sounds like there's a pattern to when he wets and when he doesn't. Perhaps between the two of you, you can find something different between the two wet and dry spells. Look for anything else that correlates with the times he's wetting and what correlates with when he's dry. Stress, diet, and many other possibilities.

If you don’t mind me asking was yours from young or just started ?

I wet the bed at 15 too so hope your son finds a solution

My brother wet his bed until he got his first girlfriend at the age of 16-17. Nothing like trying to impress a girl to give you the subconscious motivation! The fact that they make pull-ups for 14 year olds just proves that you are not alone and it is not abnormal. I realise that doesn’t make it any easier on you, but if you can help him boost his confidence generally, perhaps other motivators will come in to play.

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