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Timer helps children control continence

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Programming a wristwatch to help create routine could be the solution for children who have trouble controlling their bladder, a study has shown.

Modifying the behaviour of children with continence problems, known as bladder training or urotherapy, is the usual approach to treatment.

Taking timed visits to the toilet or altering drinking habits can also work, but children can find it difficult sticking to the routine, or they simply forget to go.

But researchers in Denmark have found that setting a watch to sound an alarm at regular intervals for children whose condition did not improve with urotherapy helped them regulate their toilet visits.

Among the 58 children who took part in the research, 35% had “partly responded” to the wristwatch method by the end of the 12-week study. This resulted in the average number of “wet days” the children experienced being reduced by between 50% and 89%.

Only around a fifth of the children (18%) who did not use the wristwatch method and stuck with standard therapy showed a similar partial response. None of the participants became totally continent.

The experiments were carried out at Aarhus University Hospital in the town of Skejby, the results of which were published in the Journal of Urology.

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