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Bedwetting

General characteristics

General characteristics

Bed wetting (or enuresis as it is medically known) is characterised by an inability to control the flow of urine while asleep. As our bodies grow and develop during early childhood the kidneys learn to produce less urine at night and the bladder gains greater nerve and muscle control. Sometimes these useful bodily functions are delayed or take longer to develop and this can be a reason for wetting the bed. Bed wetting is normal in children under 3 years or so as they have not usually gained full control over their bladder at this time.

We usually associate wetting the bed with young children but it can happen to teenagers and adults for a variety of reasons including bladder 'weakness', urinary or kidney infections, emotional anxiety, stress and worry, drinking too much near bedtime, prostate problems, deep sleep states, high alcohol consumption, diabetes, erratic or irregular sleeping patterns and constipation.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Foods rich in silica, magnesium (very effective) and calcium are very helpful in strengthening muscle and nerve control. Examples of these include nuts and seeds, carrots and carrot juice and dark green leafy vegetables. A small salad of dark leaves and grated carrot with an evening meal will provide plenty of magnesium and calcium.

Make sure you are getting plenty of plant fibre in the form of wholegrains, fruit and veg.

Avoid drinking liquids for an hour or so before bedtime.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Herbal treatment focuses on relaxing and feeding the nervous system and toning and strengthening the bladder muscles and urinary system.

St Johns wort and black cohosh root are nerve and muscle tonics as well as easing anxiety and nervousness and preventing muscle spasms. They are a good base for any herbal formula to prevent bed wetting. Diuretic herbs (promote the flow of urine) such as dandelion leaf or root can be used in the late afternoon/very early evening to encourage the bladder to empty fully, whereby it is less likely to become full overnight

Make a formula by combining the tinctures of cornsilk, uva ursi (bearberry), horsetail, liqourice root, passion flower, agrimony and vervain. Use 30ml of each except for liqourice use 15ml. An adult dose is 5ml or 1 teaspoon in a little water 3 times daily, the last dose about an hour before bedtime. Half this dose for the under 12's, half again in under7's, do not use for children 3 years and under.
Crampbark can help to relax an irritaed and overactive bladder.
Mullein root is a specific for an overactive or weak bladder as it tones the bladder and urinary tract muscles and is soothing and anti-inflammatory. Use drops of the tincture in a little water for children over 4 years old.
Damiana may also help.

Natural healing

Natural healing

It goes without saying to be as understanding and as reassuring as possible to the bed wetter (particularly children) and to explain that it occurs to many people of all ages.
Establishing a routine like having spare bed clothes and night clothes in the (older) child's room and explaining what to do with the wet clothes ( i.e. put them in the bath or washing machine for you to deal with in the morning) can give the child a sense of being more in control of the situation. Use a waterproof mattress liner on the bed to protect the mattress and keep it dry.
Give a teaspoonful of honey before bedtime. It soothes the nervous system and helps take the fluid load off the kidneys and bladder by attracting and holding water in its molecules.

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