Stories about: Voiding Improvement Program

Tackling bedwetting: ‘Don’t be afraid to talk about it’

Bedwetting, otherwise known as urinary incontinence or enuresis, is fairly common, often embarrassing and sometimes difficult to talk about. It is estimated that about 20 percent of boys and 17 percent of girls, ages 6 to 7 years old have some problem with daytime or nighttime wetting. Still, many kids are reluctant to talk about wetting with parents, friends and teachers. Parents themselves often have a hard time confronting the issue.

The Voiding Improvement Program (VIP) at Boston Children’s Hospital offers a comprehensive approach to bedwetting tailored to each child’s individual needs. “Our program is driven by highly skilled and compassionate nurses who understand both the physiologic and emotional issues surrounding urinary issues,” says Pamela Kelly, the program’s nurse director. Treatment may include biofeedback training, relaxation therapy such as guided therapy and behavioral therapy.

Kelly and VIP’s director, Dr. Carlos Estrada, offer five tips for managing your child’s wetting issues.

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Bedwetting treatment starts with open communication

 “He was 8 years old and still wearing diapers. We knew he had a problem.” – Mother of a boy with a bedwetting issue

It really wasn’t difficult to talk about her wetting as she knew something was wrong. We concentrated on making her comfortable and assuring her all would be fine.” – Mother of a young girl with a wetting problem

Urinary incontinence, otherwise known as “enuresis” or “wetting,” is fairly common, often embarrassing and sometimes difficult to talk about it. Of children 6 to 7, about 20 percent of boys and 17 percent of girls have some problem with daytime or nighttime wetting. Still, many kids are reluctant to talk about wetting with parents, friends and teachers. Parents themselves often have a hard time confronting the issue.

The Voiding Improvement Program (VIP) at Boston Children’s Hospital uses noninvasive methods to help children overcome incontinence and other urinary issues, such as urinary tract infections. Treatments can include biofeedback training, Reiki therapy, behavioral therapy and referral for acupuncture. The program’s director, Carlos Estrada, MD, believes that open communication is the essential first step in addressing a wetting issue.

“Kids have a hard time talking about their wetting problems for one obvious reason: It’s embarrassing,” he says. Over time, that embarrassment can build and build. In fact, Estrada explains, for some boys and girls, urinary incontinence “becomes a focal point for a family, and the negative attention results in kids turning inward.”

Watch this video to learn how Boston Children’s offers treatment for bedwetting:

Adding to the embarrassment are feelings of helplessness. Estrada says that wetting the bed at home or having an accident at school or on the playground can trigger these feelings and cause kids to postpone voiding. “Holding too long can lead to an overactive bladder and possibly more serious problems,” Estrada reports.

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VIP treatment for kids with urinary issues

The Voiding Improvement Program (VIP) at Boston Children’s Hospital helps kids overcome a wide variety of urinary problems, including difficult toileting issues like daytime and nighttime bathroom accidents and urinary tract infections. Here’s a look at how the VIP can help your children.

Boston Children’s Hospital Voiding Improvement Program (VIP) is available in Boston, Peabody, Waltham and Weymouth. To learn more, visit the program’s website. Also, check Thriving in the coming weeks for a post on how parents and doctors work together to help kids overcome daytime and nighttime wetting issues.

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