Supplementation with vitamin D and omega-3 could reduce the frequency of nocturnal incontinence episodes among children

 
 
 

Recent studies have associated vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids insufficiency with nocturnal enuresis. With respect to children, the term enuresis means urine incontinence, wetting of clothes or bedding, for a period of at least three consecutive months in children older than five years of age (when a child should be able to control his or her bladder). Nocturnal enuresis, as the name indicates, happens at night while sleeping.

There are two kinds of nocturnal enuresis. It is considered primary (the most common form) when bladder control has never been attained (a child with primary nocturnal enuresis has wet the bed since he or she was a baby), and secondary when incontinence reoccurs after at least six months of continence (this type of enuresis is associated with organic or psychological causes).

Nocturnal enuresis is observed in more than 15-20% of children by the age of 5, in 6-8% of eight-year-old children and in 1-2% by the age of 15. So, it is a common problem, and has effects on both the child and the family. It may negatively affect the child’s psychosocial development as well as interfere with the development of self-confidence and the process of socialization.

In the absence of a medical problem, some strategies that may be adopted to treat nocturnal enuresis include the following:

  • To inform the child about enuresis.
  • To limit fluid intake before going to bed.
  • To assure the child’s access to the toilet.
  • To carry the child to the toilet just before bedtime or awakening him or her and go the bathroom to “piddle”.
  • To avoid eating certain foods in the evening (foods that can irritate the bladder, chocolate, for example).
  • To avoid drinks with a diuretic effect, such as those containing caffeine.
  • To use bedwetting alarms. These alarms play a sound when a child begins to wet the bed; thus, the child can turn the alarm off, go to the toilet, and go back to sleep without wetting the bed too much. With this strategy, the parent involvement is very important, because the key is waking up quickly, and the presence of parents may be necessary to wake the child and alert him or her to the bedwetting episode.

Among the measures that can be taken, special mention must also be made of the conclusions of a recent study that has been taken to measure the effects of vitamin D, omega-3 supplements, and their combination on nocturnal enuresis among 7-15-year-old children. The results showed that supplementation with vitamin D and omega-3 may reduce the number of wet nights (its frequency).

Finally, if you’re worried about nocturnal enuresis of your child, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor about how to cope with it.

Bibliography: 

Canadian Paediatric Society. Management of primary nocturnal enuresis. Paediatr Child Health. 2005;10(10):611-4.

Nemours. TeensHealth. What Is Enuresis?