Few issues present more embarrassment for children and more frustration for parents than nocturnal enuresis, or night-time bedwetting.  For children it becomes quite a social burden when they are old enough to be invited to sleepover parties only to dodge the invitation due to possible bed-wetting problems.  Some children even go so far as to stay up all night in such situations just to avoid the possibility of embarrassment.  Friends can’t be invited over without lengthy explanations of all the preparations for bed, and no adolescent wants his or her friends to know that they have to wear pull-up diapers every night.  It is a real issue for them. 

Parents are left feeling frustrated by the turmoil the problem of nocturnal enuresis causes at home, too.  Extra loads of laundry have to be done, plastic sheets have to be arranged to avoid ruining mattresses, extra expense of pull-up diapers must be borne, alarms must be set in the middle of the night to wake up their children to get them to the bathroom, and the list goes on.  Add to this list the worry about what might be causing the problem in the first place, and the frustration mounts.  Parents have to be very patient, balance their irritation with their concern, and be careful not to scold children for something that is completely beyond their control.  If you are one of these parents, you are not alone.  According to Claudia Anrig, D.C., author of a textbook on chiropractic pediatrics, approximately 2-3 million children in the U.S. are afflicted with this disorder.  About 10 to 15 percent of 5 year olds and 5 percent of 10 year olds suffer.  The cause is largely unknown, although there is a hereditary component in some cases.

First handling for nocturnal enuresis should always be ruling out organic causes for the problem.  Your child’s pediatrician will know where to turn to make sure there is no urological or neurological cause.  Once these systems have been cleared as being the primary cause of night-time bedwetting, doctors often will prescribe medications for the problem.  Sometimes the medications are temporarily effective, but are not without their side effects and often the problem returns when the medication stops.  So there is no long-term effectiveness against which to weigh the down-sides of medications.  Night-time alarms are also used in the treatment of bed-wetting, but they don’t do anything to stop the problem.  They warn many times only when it is too late.  Often nocturnal enuresis is a self-limiting problem, or one which a child seems just to “grow out of”.  The questions are, however, “When will the child grow out of it?’ and “How much more of this can I take?” 

There is some evidence both clinical and published that chiropractic treatment might help those with nocturnal enuresis.  In the peer-reviewed Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, a study was published that was performed at the Palmer Institute of Graduate Studies and Research in Davenport, Iowa.  The study included a group of enuretic children who received a series of chiropractic treatments and a control group which received no chiropractic adjustments, and showed a 50 percent decrease in bedwetting episodes- measured by frequency of wet nights as reported by parents. Other studies report similar findings, while still others report a smaller decrease but a decrease nonetheless.  Most often the area of spinal manipulation that has shown to be the most effective in aiding those with nocturnal enuresis is the lumbar, or lower back, region of the spine.  The nerves in the lumbar spine supply the kidneys and bladder, so if there is a spinal misalignment in that area which is putting pressure on the lumbar nerve roots which supply those organs, the interference could cause them to malfunction.  It is the job of your chiropractor to locate the areas of misalignment and make the necessary corrections in order to restore the proper nerve flow to the body.  Proper nerve function helps us rest assured that our body’s self-healing, self-regulating properties are at work the way nature intended for them to be.

Getting adjusted can cause a number of positive effects on the body’s nervous system, and helping to decrease the episodes of bedwetting is one of those possibilities.  Ask your chiropractor about the many wonders of correcting interferences in your child’s nervous system.  You will be glad you did.  Treat your body well.