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Bedwetting treatment guide issued

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NICE has issued guidance for health professionals on the diagnosis and management of bedwetting in children and young people.

NICE recommends that rather than waiting until children turn seven, treatment should be offered when required.

This policy is designed to avoid frustration for younger children and families who are ready to tackle the problem but who currently have to wait to receive support from health professionals.

Other recommendations include:

  • Making sure the child and parent or carers know bedwetting is not the child’s fault and that punishment should not be used
  • Encouraging rewards for agreed behaviour rather than for dry nights, such as going to the toilet before sleep, taking medication or for helping to change the sheets
  • Talking to parents or carers about the possibility of accessing support, especially if they are displaying anger or blame towards the child
  • Addressing a child’s excessive or insufficient fluid intake or abnormal toilet habits before starting bedwetting treatment
  • Referring children who have not responded to courses of treatment with an alarm and/or desmopressin.

Children’s health charity Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence (ERIC) welcomed the new guidelines.

ERIC director Jenny Perez said: “Parents who ring the ERIC Helpline often blame themselves and express frustration at their inability to resolve bedwetting.

“The new guidelines will allow parents to know what to expect from health professionals and be aware of their own role in the process of resolving and managing their child’s continence problems.

“The guidelines will also provide a clear pathway for health professionals to follow when dealing with nocturnal enuresis.”

The group hopes the new guidelines will encourage more families to seek help as research indicates that only one in three families seek out support, despite betwetting - also known as nocturnal enuresis - affecting more than 500,000 British children.

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