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Bedwetting myths aired out in new guide

In the lead-up to World Bedwetting Day on May 29, a new guide is highlighting the impact that nocturnal enuresis can have on a child – the condition can affect a person's emotional, psychological and social development and might result in bullying and victimisation in the home and at school.

Targeted towards healthcare professionals, patients and carers involved in its treatment journey, the Australian Nocturnal Enuresis Resource Kit provides current information on its management and how to address the challenges and barriers that may present.

The kit's authors say these sorts of resources are essential to providing additional support to those affected by nocturnal enuresis.

Co-author Associate Professor Patrina Caldwell, a paediatrician and staff specialist at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, says there are still delays diagnosing and treating nocturnal enuresis.

“Patients and their families require support throughout the treatment journey," Caldwell says. "Healthcare professionals sometimes need additional help to support their patients, particularly when initial attempts at treatments fail."

One in five children at five years of age continue to wet the bed, while a tenth of 10-year-olds are affected.

Caldwell says there is a common assumption that bedwetting resolves spontaneously – a belief Continence Foundation of Australia chief executive Rowan Cockerell says needs to be addressed.

“Bedwetting is commonly overlooked as a simple condition that a child will eventually outgrow. However, the growing body of evidence suggests nocturnal enuresis is a complex disorder involving several factors, such as difficulty arousing from sleep, urine over-production during sleep, and bladder dysfunction,” Cockerell says.

Caldwell adds that the impact of bedwetting on those who continue to experience nocturnal enuresis is often ignored.

“Bedwetting can significantly impact sleep quality, self-esteem, emotional wellbeing and daytime functioning, both at school and socially.

“This stigmatising condition is often not talked about, as children are usually very embarrassed about it, leading to feelings of shame, guilt and helplessness.”

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