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New Study: Link between Bedwetting & Undiagnosed Constipation


According to new research by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, constipation is often Better Treatment for Bedwetting include laxative therapy which is overseenthe culprit for bedwetting. If it is not diagnosed, to cure nighttime wetting, children and their parents could endure an unnecessarily long, difficult & costly quest.

Researchers found that thirty children and adolescents who sought treatment for bedwetting all had large amounts of stool in their rectums, despite the majority having normal bowel habits it was reported online in the journal Urology. Twenty five of the children (eighty three percent) were cured of bedwetting within three months, after treatment with laxative therapy. Any medical therapy for bedwetting should be overseen by a physician, cautioned Hodges.

Lead author Steve J. Hodges, M.D., assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest Baptist, says, “Having too much stool in the rectum reduces bladder capacity. Our study showed that a large percentage of these children were cured of nighttime wetting after laxative therapy. Parents try all sorts of things to treat bedwetting from alarms to restricting liquids. In many children, the reason they don’t work is that constipation is the problem.”

However, he said the finding did not lead to a dramatic change in clinical practice, perhaps because the definition of constipation is not standardized or uniformly understood by all physicians and lay people. Hodges said the link between bedwetting and excess stool in the rectum, which is the lower five to six inches of the intestine, was first reported in 1986.

Hodges further says that, “The definition for constipation is confusing and children and their parents often aren’t aware the child is constipated. In our study, X-rays revealed that all the children had excess stool in their rectums that could interfere with normal bladder function. However, only three of the children described bowel habits consistent with constipation.”

Hodges and radiologists at Wake Forest Baptist developed a special diagnostic method that involves measuring rectal size on the X-ray. The study used abdominal X-rays to identify the children with excess stool in their rectums.

Hodges also says, “The importance of diagnosing this condition cannot be overstated. When it is missed, children may be subjected to unnecessary surgery and the side effects of medications. We challenge physicians considering medications or surgery as a treatment for bedwetting to obtain an X-ray or ultrasound first.”

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