By – Andrew Mejire Etoh
Peju! I could hear my name echo from a distance, Lola and Sabrina were calling out to me from the swimming pool, its sunny, the pool is crystal clear and appears shallow and friendly for kids like me who dont know how to swim. I run towards my friends and prepare to make a big splash, I get nervous, and I think to myself (what if this pool isnt as shallow as it appears) Sabrina senses my worry and assures me its not deep and need not be afraid. I dip my left foot to have a feel of the water, then slowly and steadily step into the pool, latching on to the pool ladder. The water, warm and inviting then suddenly the sky goes dark and the water turns cold and then I wake up. Ohhhh it was just a dream
Ive lost count on the number of times I’ve had similar dreams, sometimes Im in the play ground or compound playing then I run off to ease myself. Sometimes I dont even dream, I just seem to shut down completely and Im lost in a time capsule where hours must have passed, but to me its but a minute from my last memory and all I do is stare into a blank dark space of nothingness. In the end, the result is pretty much the same; my night gown drenched, and my bed soaked in my own urine.
This soon became a frequent occurrence, I couldnt go to sleep overs at my friends place, and when I was sent to boarding school it was a really difficult experience waking up to the teasing taunts of my dorm mates. Other times I got punished, it was a harrowing experience. The story of Peju is not uncommon in many families and among many kids.
According to Dr Howard Bennett, MD, a paediatrician and author of Waking Up Dry: A Guide to Help Children Overcome Bedwetting the following factors could contribute to bed wetting.
Delayed bladder maturation. “Simply put, the brain and bladder gradually learn to communicate with each other during sleep, and this takes longer to happen in some kids,”
Low anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). This hormone tells the kidneys to make less urine. Studies show that some kids who wet the bed release less of this hormone while asleep. More urine can mean more bedwetting.
Deep sleepers. “Families have been telling us for years that their children who wet the bed sleep more deeply than their kids that don’t,” Research confirms the link. “Some of these children sleep so deeply, their brain doesn’t get the signal that their bladder is full.”
To help children with such problems, experts recommend the following;
Encouraging a child to pee before bedtime, restricting a child’s fluid intake before bed, covering the mattress with plastic, bed-wetting alarms. These alarms sense urine and wake a child so they can use the toilet.
Discourage over playful habits that leave kids too exhausted before bed. This is to prevent the situation where the child is in deep sleep mode and too tired to realize his/her bladder is full.
Dont be afraid to consult a paediatrician if your bed-wetting child isnt getting better. There is a number of medications your paediatrician can prescribe.