Enuresis is the act of urinating on oneself. This act my be intentional or unintentional. Enuresis is only diagnosed in those who are five years of age or older. This urinating on oneself must occur at least twice per week for three consecutive months; and/or must cause significant distress or impairment in daily functioning.
Enuresis is commonly categorized by two types of enuresis, primary enuresis (PE) and secondary enuresis (SE). Primary enuresis occurs when a child has never established bladder control. A child who has a minimum 6-month period of continence (no wetting accidents) before the wetting begins is considered to have secondary enuresis. Psychological problems are a common cause in children who experience SE. These problems are commonly related to a major change in a child’s life (a divorce, a new sibling, a move).
Children who suffer from PE, frequently experience psychological problems as a result of their diagnosis. This is typically due to embarrassment, anxiety, negative self-perception and relationships, school performance, low self-esteem and other consequences of enuresis. These symptoms can be present in children who experience enuresis as infrequent as once a month.
Unfortunately, children with enuresis are frequently punished and are at great risk of emotional and physical abuse. Punishment has no place when responding to incidences of enuresis. It is not effective and is actually damaging to the child.
A good thing to keep in mind is that enuresis commonly resolves on its own, especially if the child has had success at staying dry few times per week. If this is the case, medical and/or mental health professional may choose to delay treatment interventions.
If treatment is agreed upon, the best predictor of a positive outcome rests with the child being ready, having a positive attitude, and having motivation to stay dry. Sadly, it is common for children to believe that they will never be dry. However, an optimistic outlook should be regularly encouraged.
What are effective interventions for helping my child who has enuresis?
The main reason to treat enuresis is to reduce embarrassment and anxiety, and to also to address the frustration experienced by the parents. Most children with enuresis feel isolated due to this problem.
1. Contact your child’s doctor, especially when your child reaches a social age (normally around 5-6 years old). A thorough medical examination will be completed and the medical doctor and/or a mental health professional will also gather a developmental history of your child in order to help gather all of the necessary information for helping your child and family.
2. Family members or friends who have experienced enuresis should to share their experience and offer moral support to the child. The child can be comforted by the fact they know others who have had enuresis and have overcome the disorder. This can help the child feel less alone and instill hope.
3. Seek out mental health counseling for your child and family. The use of behavior modification with positive reinforcements such as goal charts, tangible and intangible rewards, fluid restrictions close to bedtime, and using an enuresis alarm can be very beneficial.
4. Consistent follow-up is important to gauge the therapeutic results.
5. Encourage your child to urinate when he awakes up, before transition times at school, before leaving home or school for any reason, before going to bed, and every 2 hours during the day.
6. Write a note to your child’s teacher and school nurse to permit liberal bathroom privileges. If a medical note is needed, contact your child’s doctor immediately. Children who have enuresis should not be told to wait for bathroom breaks that are in place for other students in the classroom. Instead, they need to be on their own individual schedule. Holding the urine is highly discouraged.
Parents commonly search out a cause to explain their child’s enuresis. Rest assured, if your child has no daytime wetting incidences or has had considerable dry periods in the past, the presence of a structural abnormality is very unlikely.
Providing your child with consistent love, caring, and patience will not only strengthen the bond between you and your child; but it will also help to boost a positive outlook on the future.
Rely on your child’s doctor and/or a mental health therapist for family support and guidance during this trying time. An excellent website for further information and support is www.dryatnight.com.
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