health for your
Tips to help a bed-wetter
By Dr. Bill Sears
AROUND 15 PERCENT of 5-year-
olds still wet their beds, and boys
outnumber girls four to one. As a
pediatrician for more than 40 years,
I want to dispel the myth that
bed-wetting is a psychological or
Instead, it’s really a sleep quirk. It’s physiologically
more correct to call this nighttime nuisance “sleep
wetting.” Some kids sleep too soundly to respond to
the get-up-and-go signals from their bladder. Here is a
step-by-step approach that we’ve used in our family
and in my pediatric practice.
Play show and tell. In my of;ce I draw a picture
of the brain with “wires” connected to the bladder,
explaining to the child, “Your bladder is like a balloon
the size of a baseball. Inside the balloon are tiny nerves
that tell you when your bladder is full. Your full bladder
then sends messages to your brain, and the brain tells
you to go pee. Because you sleep so deeply, the brain
sort of says, ‘Don’t bother me. I’m sleeping.’ Yet, your
bladder becomes so full it’s got to empty, so you pee in
your bed. Here’s how we’re going to help your brain
and your bladder listen to each other at night.”
Empty the bladder completely before going
to bed. Many bed-wetters who are tired or in a hurry
only dribble out a bit when they go to the bathroom
before going to bed, so they go to sleep with a half-full
bladder. Teach your child “triple voiding”: “To squeeze
all the pee out of your bladder, grunt, grunt, grunt three
times so you go to bed with an empty bladder.”
Have a bladder-programming talk. Be a
bladder-training coach: As your child is dozing off to
sleep, imprint on his mind what he will do when he
feels a full bladder: “I will get up and go to the
bathroom when I feel my bladder get big. I will splash
water on my face to wake up, and grunt three times.”
This bedtime rehearsal programs your child to help his
bladder and brain cooperate at night.
Shake and wake before you retire. Since
most children bed-wet within a few hours after
retiring, before you go to bed, fully awaken your child
and help him walk to the bathroom and again “grunt
three times” to completely empty his bladder. Then
help the sleepy child get back to bed.
Get things moving. Since constipation is a
frequently overlooked cause of bed-wetting, give your
child a tasty laxative: a fruit and yogurt smoothie with
a tablespoon of ;ax oil.
Give high-tech help for the persistent
bed-wetter. If your child is becoming increasingly
wet and bothered, try a pad-and-buzzer apparatus
called a bladder-conditioning device. When a drop of
urine strikes the moisture-sensitive pad, it sets off a
buzzer that’s attached to the child’s T-shirt or pajama
top. Explain this to your child as the “beat the buzzer”
game. Encourage him to get up and go to the bathroom before the buzzer sounds.
In my pediatric practice experience, more than 90
percent of bed-wetters become dry after trying these
strategies. A patient of mine thanked me, “Dr. Bill, being
dry makes me feel so happy. Now I can stay overnight
at a friend’s house without feeling embarrassed.” C
MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA
has been observing May as
Mental Health Month since
1949. Their platform for 2012 is
a call to action to recognize and
care for mental illness.
“Do More for 1 in 4”
According to a 2005
National Institute of Mental
Health finding, one in four
American adults live with a
diagnosable, treatable mental
As many as 50 percent of
people living with a mental
health condition never seek or
receive help due to stigma, lack
of information, cost or lack of
health insurance. Many people
may be reluctant to ask for help
or don’t know where to find it.
You can make a difference
by helping someone you know
Dr. Bill Sears (
www.askdrsears.com) is an associate
clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of
California, Irvine, School of Medicine and co-author
of The Baby Book (Little, Brown 2003).
Lyme disease: No walk in the woods
THE DEER TICK that carries the
spiral-shaped bacteria (
spirochete) that causes Lyme disease
is as big as the head of a pin.
But don’t let the size fool you.
These spirochetes can cause
plenty of trouble. The symptoms
of Lyme disease include fatigue,
joint and muscle pain, sleep disorders, memory impairment,
brain fog, panic attacks, numbness, tingling, burning and
weakness. Lyme disease has
been reported in all 48 states of
the continental U.S.
red rash or a bull’s-eye.
Untreated Lyme disease can
result in even more severe
symptoms, such as meningitis,
paralysis or heart block.
Seeing your doctor right
You may know someone:
away for an exam can avoid
these problems. “Early diagnosis
means a patient will respond
better to conventional antibiot-
ics,” says Dalilah Restrepo, M.D.,
a physician in the Infectious
Diseases Division of St. Luke’s–
Roosevelt Hospital in New York
City. “It also prevents the evolu-
tion into late or chronic Lyme,
If it is diagnosed early, the
treatment for Lyme disease is a
14- to 21-day course of oral anti-
biotics, usually doxycycline.
• Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Symptoms can be variable and either
situational or constant.
• Anxiety disorders.
disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, phobia, etc.
• Bipolar disorder. Also
known as manic depression,
it involves mood swings from
excessively high and/or irritable
to sad and hopeless, mixed with
• Clinical depression. It
is characterized by persistent
changes in mood, behavior and
feelings that disrupt day-to-day life.
See your MD immediately
How to support someone
close to you
48 ;e Costco Connection MAY 2012