Question: Is it normal for my 5 year old to have nighttime bed-wetting problems a few nights a week?
Answer: Many pediatricians would say, resoundingly, yes. However, in my opinion, there are several factors that need to be addressed before we can accurately answer this question; it is not exactly black and white.
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is essentially the “fight or flight” response and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) controls the feelings of relaxation. Both of these branches on the Autonomic nervous system must be in balance for the bladder to function efficiently. The ability to voluntarily inhibit urination actually develops by the age of 2–3 years, as control at higher levels of the central nervous system develops. (right about the time when “potty training” is going on)
The urge to urinate is controlled by the SNS and the actual act of urinating is controlled by the PNS. Many times the older child (7 to 10 years) is dry until 4 to 5 a.m. and then wets the bed. This, many times, is due to the fact that the child is so fatigued that they cannot physically wake themselves up.
Look for things that may be stressing them emotionally; grades, friends, siblings, and even parents. Many times fatigue runs in the family. Have your natural health doctor check for adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is also common, very common, with these kids. When the blood sugar drops too low (usually around 4 to 5 a.m.) and the SNS doesn’t respond by waking up the child, the PNS does it’s job anyway and the bladder lets go.
Things to avoid that can commonly disrupt blood sugar balance include:
artificial food coloring
food with artificial sweeteners
MSG (read labels like a hawk…it’s in many things)
Things you can do to help balance your child’s blood sugar include:
Supplement with the B complex vitamins (low-potency); many times high potency B vitamins are synthetic and can make the problem worse in the long term.
Probiotics work wonderfully, as your body generates B vitamins from the “good” bacteria in your gut
Having them eat a small high protein snack before bed can be a great idea.
Your chiropractor is trained to balance the nervous system. If your child has problems wetting the bed, make an appointment to get him adjusted. Many times it is a structural imbalance that is irritating the nervous system.
As the child gets older, this issue becomes more emotional. Knowing that there are things that parents can do, NATURALLY, can be very empowering for all who are involved. Balancing the nervous system early when symptoms first appear can help prevent long term emotional scars.
Hopefully this sheds some light on an issue that can be difficult to treat at times.