Bed Wetting: Boys vs. Girls
Like chalk and cheese, boys and girls are different in so many ways and bedwetting is no different. Nocturnal bedwetting affects twice as many boys as girls. Experts are not exactly sure why but there have been medical studies done which suggest that girls tend to develop bladder control before boys. Dr. Michael Ritchey, a Pediatric urologist, agrees and says this could be attributed to the fact that the pressure to urinate is higher in boys, affecting their ability to hold urine. In most cases bedwetting is caused by a slower than normal development of the child’s bladder control.
Prior to age 13, boys wet the bed twice as often as girls. By the time adolescence comes around, these numbers equal out. This may be due to the fact that boys’ bodies develop at a slower rate (during the early years the muscles of the bladder for a 5 year old girl are likely to be stronger than the equivalent 5 year old boy). However, no one single reason has been identified for the prevalence of enuresis among boys in comparison to girls. Interestingly, girls are more likely than boys to have other bladder problems.
The idea that male equals macho and that boys are supposed to be strong may lead parents to believe that bedwetting is somehow more abnormal or shameful for their son than their daughter. In reality, boys are more likely to wet the bed than girls (some studies report that male incidents of bedwetting are twice as likely than female incidents), and they require just as much care and support as their female peers. Sometimes young boys will try to appear “strong” in the face of bedwetting and will appear to want no assistance from their parents, this attitude is quite natural but as a parent, it’s important we let them know that it’s ok to ask for help.
Another big difference between boys and girls when it comes to bedwetting are the different rituals they have before bedtime. Girls tend to have a fairly standard routine which they rarely differ from while boys bedtime rituals are often more random and haphazard (much like boys themselves at that age). Studies have shown that children who have a more stable bedtime ritual are less likely to experience bedwetting. As a result of this you should try to keep your young son’s bedtime ritual as consistent as possible.
Parents know that girls and boys are different in lots of ways. What many parents don’t realize is that bedwetting can be more emotionally upsetting for a girl at a younger age than it is for a boy. Dr. F.C. Verhulst, a noted psychiatrist and researcher, made the case some years ago to change the diagnostic criteria of bedwetting treatment to age 5 for girls and age 8 for boys because he thought the epidemiology (the branch of medicine that deals with the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations) was so different between the two sexes. In other words, more uncommon for your daughter to wet the bed at age 5 than it is for your son.
Girls, especially older girls, are also more likely to try to fix the problem themselves as the emotional sensitivity can lead to embarrassment even from you as the parent. If you find your daughter has been wetting the bed but didn’t want to get help from you, it might be an idea to leave some towels and a spare set of pajamas somewhere within reach for future cases while letting her know that you are here to help if she needs you.
One reason bedwetting can become a more serious problem for girls, is that they often start having sleepovers at quite a young age. Girls tend to enjoy social time with friends more than boys and if your daughter knows she has a problem with bedwetting she might avoid sleepovers because she is worried about embarrassing herself. One solution for this scenario is for you, as the parent, to get involved and have a chat with the parents of the child having the sleepover, letting them know...
References: (William Sears, 2013)
(Australia, KIMBERLY-CLARK CORPORATION , 2013)
(John Mersch, 2013)
Australia, K.-C. (2013). KIMBERLY-CLARK CORPORATION. Retrieved from http://www.drynites.co.nz/
Australia, K.-C. (2013). KIMBERLY-CLARK CORPORATION . Retrieved from Boy vs Girl Bedwetters – Which is more common?: http://www.drynites.com.au/bedwetters
John Mersch, M. F. (2013). WebMD, Inc. Retrieved from Bedwetting: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/bedwetting/article_em.htm
William Sears, M. a. (2013). Retrieved from 10 Bedwetting Facts Paents Should Know: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/bedwetting/10-bedwetting-facts-parents-should-know
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