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Bedwetting alarms and medications

Bedwetting alarms

What is a bedwetting alarm?

An alarm is a treatment for bedwetting which has been proven to work for the majority of children. The alarm conditions the child to become aware that the bladder is full and they should now wake up and go to the toilet. 

How does a bedwetting alarm work?

The alarm conditions the child to become aware that the bladder is full and they should now wake up and go to the toilet. When it goes off, the child must wake up, go to the toilet and empty their bladder fully. A sustained effort over many weeks, perhaps as long as two to three months, might be required. Bedwetting alarms are not an option which work well with a casual approach.

Are there different types of alarms?

Yes, and you need to choose the right alarm for your child. One is a personal alarm with a small sensor used close to the body and linked to a body-worn alarm unit. The other is a bell and pad alarm which involves placing a mat over the bottom sheet which is covered with a small drawsheet. This is connected to an alarm box placed at the foot of the bed. Your continence health professional is the best person to advise you on which alarm is most suitable for your child.

What can parents do to help?

It cannot be over-emphasised that both you and your child must be properly taught how to use the alarm and have someone to call if you are having difficulties of any kind. Your aim should be to have your child use the alarm as independently as possible according to their ability. All children benefit from parental encouragement and support throughout an alarm-based program. You will also need the guidance and support of a trained health professional, as this is a key element in the success of this treatment.

Where can I find out more?

It is recommended that you discuss your child needs with a continence health professional, who will determine if a bedwetting alarm is a suitable form of treatment. Most reputable continence services will have bedwetting alarms for hire. For further information or a referral to your local continence service, call the National Continence Helpline on freecall 1800 33 00 66.

Bedwetting medications

What are the most common medications used?

Desmopressin acetate is a medication which substitutes a naturally occurring hormone within the body. It reduces the amount of urine produced overnight by the kidneys. This is a prescription medication. Your prescribing doctor will talk to you about the correct use of this drug.

It can be very useful on occasions for responsible adolescents to allow them to sleepover at friends or attend camps with more confidence.