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Teenage son (15 years old) still wets the bed


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It's been over a decade since we first started trying things to get my son to stop wetting the bed. He day trained at age 2, this has always been exclusively a nighttime bedwetting issue.

Over the years, we've tried: alarms, doctors, wake-ups, no drinks, you name it we probably gave it a shot.

My poor son, he's already in high school and well into puberty now and it's still basically a nightly struggle for him. At age 15, as far as nighttime control he's not much different from age 2 or age 5 or age 8 etc.


To this day we are still going through a 63-count pack of disposable nighttime bedwetting pullups (called Goodnites) every 2 months or so. He is more or less dependent on this product to at least be able to wake up feeling dry and comfortable.

It's been so unsatisfying for SEVERAL doctors to tell us different variations of the same thing. "It'll stop eventually", "Just give it time", "Be patient"--we all try so hard to make our son feel comfortable, but there's only so much encouragement can do for someone when they have to climb into bed each night with high school classes to attend the next morning and underneath your pajamas you're still wearing a diaper that's almost always going to have urine in it in the morning. There's really nothing he can do to feel it or control it, it just happens.

It gets to him at times, and it gets to me and my husband too, we feel his frustration and impatience and embarrassment vicariously. 

Fortunately, he doesn't have any sort of underlying medical issues. One good thing we did learn from his dr's visits was that there are a few percent of teens who all have this same condition. But again, that kind of encouragement can only go so far with helping to actually manage the day-to-day. Sure it's nice to be reassured that nightly bedwetting and pull-up usage into the teens is not unheard of--but its another thing to actually deal with the issue. Plus its not like this is something people talk about. Sometimes, as far as my son is concerned, he might as well be the only person in the world doing this and it can be alienating for him at times. It breaks my heart.

Sleepovers and trips are so much harder than they should be. Imagine having to take steps to conceal a diaper from a bunch of teenage boys at a sleepover.

We just try to give as much encouragement as we can and if he ever has an inclination to try some sort of intervention we always oblige. At this point, I'm not sure there's much else we can do. Nothing has actually put a dent in the wet nights so far.



Please, anyone who reads this--be openminded and understanding about our situation (it is not unique or even particularly rare) and if you have any advice (especially if you've been there, done that and found a successful treatment method) I'd be very grateful to hear it.


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What kinds of medical issues did they look at? 

I've friends who dealt with this issue years ago.  It was a brain issue where she simply could NOT wake up to use the bathroom, or have continence when she was asleep.  I don't recall the medication (just that it was extremely serious when her toddler sister climbed up and ate it.  Straight to children's hospital ICU, and they fed her charcoal to absorb it.  She was released several days later.)

Has your son had a sleep study to see what his brain is doing when this happens (and if there is a difference to what it should be doing)?

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I've known several teens who resolved this through chiropractic adjustments to their tailbones and/or through exercises that stretched muscles by the tailbone.  I suggest you ask around to find a well-recommended chiropractor.  (And while your ds may feel like he's the only one, he's not.  As you said, people don't usually talk about this, but desperate moms talk.  I have known of eight - yes, eight! - teens who had the problem in four different families.  Some did eventually grow out of it, but for the others chiropractic care and/or exercises for muscles in the tailbone area helped.)  

Edited by klmama
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I know a family who had success using the alarms, but you said you tried that...

I also know a family whose children wet the bed when they ate items containing orange dye. There is a specific orange dye which is available as an over the counter mediation to numb the urinary tract during infections, and I wonder if there is a connection. Of course, I don't imagine your son is eating orange dyed food daily. 

I wish I could be more helpful! That must be so difficult for him. 

Edited by MercyA
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From my big whopping sample pool of *2* late wetters (my father till 17 and my ds still at almost 13), I'd be very hesitant to say *nothing* is going on. My ds is diagnosed ASD2 so with him the doctors just say take a deep breath and wait. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SEYMU7U/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1  My ds wears these (Abena Abri-flex Premium level 2) and we're FINALLY having dry nights. I'm astonished a 15 yo is getting through the night with Goodnights as the capacity is very low. Abena has a *much* higher capacity, and with that the person should be able to go on social outings with less embarrassment. They are white, no silly pictures or anything, and hardly show. You could start with a small pack and see if they work.

59 minutes ago, patwilliams87 said:

dr's visits

Did he offer you a medication? There are medications for wetting, but because it's considered developmental for my ds they don't do it yet. You can also rouse him 1-2 hours after he goes to bed and have him go to the toilet, which may be enough to give a dry night.

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Agreed, it's a very unusual topic for a first post and a very unusual choice of username.

But, in case it's legit or someone finds this though google search later, you don't mention which types of doctors have been consulted.  Urologist? Neurologist? Sleep study? Too many parents stick with the GP or ped with an ongoing problem when they really need a specialist.

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