By Steve Hodges, M.D.
The other day I saw a 16-year-old bedwetting patient who'd never had a dry night. His mom told me: "At age 5, 8, 10, the pediatrician kept saying, 'Don't worry, he'll grow out of it.' When he was 14, he wanted to go to Rome with the Latin club. I sent him with nine garbage bags for the bed."
In my practice, this story is typical. My clinic is full of tweens and teenagers whose parents have heard, for years:
"Don't worry—she's just a deep sleeper."
"Don't worry—her bladder hasn't caught up to her brain."
"Don't even worry about it until she's 7."
Naturally, parents do worry! Because their kids are getting teased, missing out on sleepovers, and losing self-esteem. Because pull-ups aren't cheap and 2 a.m. sheet-changes are exhausting. Because there's no end in sight.
Some 5 million children wet the bed, including more than 800,000 tweens and teens. Many have daytime pee and/or poop accidents, too. These conditions are highly treatable, yet families are offered hollow reassurance.
Here are four truths about bedwetting I hope will inspire families to take action.