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NICE opens consultation on childhood bedwetting

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is developing advice for the NHS on how to treat and look after children who wet the bed.

NICE’s draft guideline covers a range of approaches, from teaching simple behavioural techniques, such as the use of alarms, monitoring fluid intake, diet and toileting patterns - to more complicated care plans, such as using desmopressin (a hormone supplement that reduces the production of urine), and psychological interventions (such as parents rewarding the child for agreed behaviour rather than for dry nights).

The draft guidance is now available for public consultation.

Dr Fergus Macbeth, director of the NICE centre for clinical practice, said: “Most children will experience some form of bedwetting as they grow up; however often only those aged seven and above are considered for treatment - before this age, it is generally perceived as a normal habit which the child will grow out of.

“While in most cases this will be true, this assumption does mean that many younger children must potentially endure the effects of this condition, such as feelings of low self-esteem or a lack of confidence, unnecessarily and for prolonged periods of time. Not only that, but for some children and teenagers, bedwetting may be a symptom of a more deep-rooted concern – such as a urinary tract infection, diabetes, a bladder problem, stress, constipation, or in rare cases, maltreatment.

“In our draft clinical guideline we have not specified a minimum age limit so that those younger children that are currently excluded from advice and services because of their age can be considered. There are a variety of ways that the NHS can help explore the possible causes of a child’s bedwetting and find a suitable treatment that works. These are outlined in our draft recommendations, which are now out for public consultation.”

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