Childhood is a magical time where children are at their most carefree and their imaginations thrive. But this doesn’t mean childhood is without its issues. Bed-wetting effects between five to seven million children worldwide and can be an embarrassing topic for children to discuss with their parents. Bed-wetting can cause frustration and wear on both parents and kids emotionally and mentally. Sleepovers will be a no-go for children, and parents will have an increased amount of laundry to do. So what causes childhood bed-wetting? And how can chiropractic care aid in making it stop?
The Causes of Bed-Wetting
Bed-wetting has a medical term, nocturnal enuresis, and along with the medical term is a medical explanation for why it happens. Infants and young children have very slow breathing patterns and slow breathing causes a rise in carbon dioxide. This triggers the phrenic reflex, which stimulates the diaphragm and makes the child take a deep breath. If this reflex is working improperly, the smooth muscles in the body relax because the carbon dioxide levels are so high within the body. Since the valve of the urinary bladder is a smooth muscle, it relaxing causes the child to wet the bed.
This is just one of the many reasons why a child might wet the bed. The other reasons are:
- An inadequate Anti-Diuretic Hormone level which shuts down urine production at night
- Attention seeking
- Deep sleep which means your child won’t wake up when they have the urge to urinate.
- A delay in the central system developing. This obstructs the child’s ability to hold in urine at night.
- Delayed daytime urination. Many children delay going to the bathroom because they are involved in an activity they don’t want to stop doing.
- Genetics. If you or your child’s other parent was a bedwetter, then your child will most likely be one too.
- Grief. If someone close to your child has passed away or if you’ve relocated to a place where your child had to change schools, those could cause the child to wet the bed again.
- Home or school-related stress
- Spinal abnormalities
- Urinary tract infection
Taking your child to a pediatrician can help answer the question “Why is my child wetting the bed?”, but they might not be able to offer a solution that will help reduce it. If they offer a solution, it might possibly be one that involves medication or needles, which isn’t always the right solution. So if pediatricians who specialize in childhood medical problems can’t help, how can a chiropractor?
Chiropractic Treatment and Bed-wetting
Chiropractic care helps treat many issues, some more well-known than others. So hearing that chiropractic care can help treat childhood bed-wetting might make you raise an eyebrow in disbelief. But with the testimonials from parents about how chiropractic care has helped with their child’s bed-wetting and with the scientific proof to back it up, there is solid evidence that chiropractic care can aid in this issue. However, as with all other medical issues, chiropractic care cannot cure childhood bed-wetting. So if you ever come across a chiropractor who makes that claim, I would suggest finding another chiropractor.
In the section above we talked a bit about phrenic reflex, but there is a bit more to say about it. There is a nerve, the phrenic nerve, that plays a role in phrenic reflex. This nerve exits the spine in between the third, fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae, meaning it is located near the vertebrae that affect the bladder. If the vertebrae cause a subluxation, the phrenic nerve will be affected and that can lead to your child starting to wet the bed.
You might ask- What are subluxations? How are they causing my child to wet the bed? A subluxation is a neurological disruption that occurs when nerves become stretched or twisted (more commonly known as a “pinched” nerve). This “pinched” nerve causes the communication to the rest of the body to become disturbed, which causes the body to stop functioning properly and can potentially lead to serious health issues if not properly treated.
Subluxations can be caused by the mishaps of life such as falls, injuries (e.g. sports, accident related), and stress. Young children fall down several times a day while playing or learning to walk. So subluxations can happen without you even realizing it! Subluxations may lead to growth problems and internal function issues including bladder control. The sooner subluxations are treated, the healthier your child will be in the long run.
That’s right- The issue you thought might be bladder-related could potentially be a nerve communication issue. A chiropractic adjustment can help allow the nerves to communicate properly again, ridding your child’s body of any subluxations they might have. With your child’s spine properly realigned and nerve interference reduced, the body can function optimally again. This means more dry nights for your child and less laundry for you!
What to Expect After Treatment
As mentioned above, chiropractic care is not a cure for bed-wetting. There is no cure for bedwetting. What chiropractic care can do for the bed-wetting issue is help decrease the number of bed-wetting nights your child has. Even after one adjustment you should notice a dramatic improvement in your child’s bed-wetting. And the improvements will only get better as the treatments continue on. The number of chiropractic treatments needed and the length of time your child needs these treatments will vary. What makes it vary from child to child is the degree of correction their spine needs.
The most important thing to remember during this time is that your child’s bed-wetting is out of their control. Children who wet the bed will feel embarrassed and ashamed, so it’s important to be understanding and sympathetic. Together, with the help of a chiropractor, the nights of wet sheets and embarrassment will soon be behind your child!