Don’t Worry About It; They’ll Out Grow It

Eugene B. Draper, Pacific International, President

“Don’t worry about it; they’ll outgrow it.” That is the most common statement parents hear about bedwetting. This is a myth and misnomer. It is perpetuated by doctors, grandmothers, and everyone else who thinks they are an expert on bedwetting. It is a belief that has enabled many people to become adult bedwetters. I have heard this phrase consistently throughout the 40 years that I have worked with enuretic children and adults.

This belief is pure nonsense. Everyone does not outgrow bedwetting. Although the percentages of enuretics dramatically drops with maturation, a significant percentage of people continue to wet into adulthood.

I have treated enuretic patients through a combination of behavioral modification and education and have seen thousands of people released from the shame and embarrassment that caused needless suffering in their lives.

Example: In 1986, I evaluated a 23-year-old female with persistent nocturnal enuresis. Despite being a beautiful, healthy woman, she was plagued by her nighttime ritual. When I arrived at her apartment, the place reeked of urine. You could smell it as you went through the front door, which is not uncommon especially in adults and some children.

Her history was tragic and as she told it she never made eye contact. She spoke in a sad, quite voice. She told me that the she had been enuretic all her life and that the doctors told her and her family that she would probably wet the bed for the rest of her life. You can imagine the hopelessness that followed this woman
and the severe limitations it placed on her social and romantic life.

After an introduction to the program and supportive counseling she was dry in 3 ½ months. In one year she was cured for good. This gave us both a great deal of satisfaction. About a year later I ran into her on the street and I barely recognized her. The sad, despondent girl was gone and was replaced by a vibrant, happy
woman full of confidence and self-esteem. She has remained dry ever since. I have had similar successes with people of all ages and severity.

Statistically, 2-5% of all people will suffer from enuresis into adulthood. However, some studies conducted through the military have shown even higher rates (11.8%). My greatest concern, however, is the demoralization that grows in patients and families when the children don’t outgrow the disorder. It is not unusual to see children who have given up on ever reaching nighttime continence. Some children have even told me that they don’t care if they wet the bed or not. But, the looks on their faces after treatment say volumes about their true feelings. My position is that many of these children have learned to live with their problems because they have lost hope, not because they don’t care.

Please don’t wait to get help if you or someone you love has a problem with bedwetting. Treatment programs are available. You can contact Pacific International Inc. or call our Sleep & Health hotline (847) 673-7660 and you will be connected with treatment providers who know how to help.