A few personal words from Dr. Sagie – How this all began

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Bedwetting therapy blogStarting this blog was a long time in the making. But how should I begin? I contemplated starting with a post about the causes of bedwetting, different approaches to treatment, medications that are typically prescribed or the use of a bedwetting alarm. Then I dug a bit deeper. I decided that, after all, the reason we are all here is because behind every bed wetter is a human being – a child or adult – who is affected by the condition. They are the “silent sufferers”, and that includes parents and siblings who are involved in the nightly routine. I believe that before understanding the technical aspects of what bedwetting is all about, we need to remind ourselves of the people who are personally affected.

This understanding is fundamental for helping the child to stop bedwetting, so, with your permission, a few personal words.

Last year, I’ve received a phone call from a young man, age 25, a school counselor, who asked to consult with me about one of his students who suffers from bedwetting. “You probably don’t remember me,” he said, “but I’ll remember you for the rest of my life. When I was 10, I came to see you in your bedwetting clinic. My parents accused me of being too lazy to wake up at night and go to the bathroom. They said that I don’t care about wetting my bed and that I have no motivation to solve this problem. To make me feel even worse, they said that this is exactly how my pediatrician feels about me as well. I was embarrassed, frustrated, shamed, defeated and helpless. I didn’t know what to say or do; how can I convince them that it wasn’t my fault? That I was not doing it on purpose and that I desperately wanted it to stop? You said to my parents; ‘You don’t understand, he is not wetting his bed on purpose and he is not lazy; he is just such a deep sleeper that he doesn’t feel it or know when it happens.’ It was the first time in my life that I felt that someone understood me and I will never forget it. I remember every detail from that meeting; it made me so happy and full of hope. Following your treatment, I stopped bedwetting completely within 4 months.”
Yes, young man; I did understand you. I know what it feels like to be a bedwetter. I have a confession to make. I, myself, was a bedwetter. It has been over 55 years and I remember it all too well. I remember that my parents used to wake me and my brother and take us to the bathroom (the most common mistake that today I advocate against – but that is for a future blog post). They were never angry with me or blamed me for wetting my bed, and I am very thankful for that. Treatment wasn’t an option at that time.
However, there is one incident that I’ll never forget for as long as I live; I was 8 years old and slept over for a few nights at my cousin’s house. One morning, I woke up completely soaked in urine, having had a very big accident during the night. I was so ashamed that I attempted to hide it by refusing to get out of bed for a few hours in the hope that it would be dry by then. Thankfully, I stopped wetting the bed not too long after that.
Years passed and I pursued a career as a psychotherapist, specializing in family and marriage counseling and treatment.
When I became a father of 4 wonderful children, my eldest son, at that time age 6, was a bedwetter. I didn’t know how I could help him. We were living in England where I was working, and his pediatrician referred us to a hospital clinic specializing in Enuresis.
My son went through a comprehensive diagnosis with no findings. He received medication with no improvement. I used to take him to the clinic every few weeks during which the nurse checked his height and weight and some other physical parameters each time, which to this day I do not understand, considering he was seen by a doctor. I remember his miserable face when he woke up every morning in his wet bed; he looked so helpless and my wife and I felt the same. He looked at us; said nothing, but his face said it all. One of the most difficult things for a parent is when they see their child’s suffering; we feel helpless and don’t know what to do to make it better. At that moment, I made a commitment; no matter what, I would not rest until I had helped my son stop having accidents at night.
I realized that the current available treatment wasn’t working and every visit to the clinic was just more of the same. I asked the doctor if he had any other course of action that we should consider. The doctor mentioned the usage of a bedwetting alarm and referred us to an agency that rented them out. We received basic information how to operate the device, which was quite cumbersome and not user-friendly. I vaguely remembered from my Psychology courses what a bedwetting alarm was. We started the treatment but faced many problems; my son didn’t wake when the alarm went off and I didn’t know what to do next. I went to the university library and read anything I could get my hands on about bedwetting and the enuresis alarm (the internet didn’t exist yet). The more I read the more I understood bedwetting and the logic behind the use of the alarm. I combined the treatment with other elements of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy which I felt that could be beneficial. His first dry night occurred after two weeks! The smile on my son’s face (and of ours as well) was unforgettable. Gradually, he succeeded with more dry nights and eventually stopped wetting completely within 3 months.
It was a life-altering event. If I could help my own son to grow out bedwetting, why not help other children who suffer from bedwetting and are struggling just like we were? I knew that my career as a marriage and family therapist was about to end.
From that moment I devoted my entire professional career to the treatment of bedwetting. I specialized in the Psychophysiology of Enuresis with an emphasis on the relationship between Enuresis and depth of sleep. I’m heavily involved in research, I lecture in scientific conferences and in academic institutions, but most important, I’m proud to say that I’ve helped tens of thousands of children, teenagers and adults to stop bedwetting and to improve the quality of their life.
But I’m not alone; my eldest son Tal (yes, the 6 year old ex-bedwetter) is my colleague and partner. Seeing the power that this change can make in a child’s life, he also decided to dedicate his professional career to the treatment of bedwetting. He is currently a doctorate student, researching bedwetting of course. Tal is the man behind the revolutionary invention, THERAPEE, the first online interactive bedwetting treatment kit in the world. His invention enables millions of children with bedwetting problems to benefit from the successful Multi-Modality treatment from the comfort of their own home. We are so proud to see the encouraging responses and reviews that we receive from thankful parents and children worldwide; it motivates us to keep striving for better solutions to improve the quality of life of so many bedwetters.
In April 2014, I will commemorate and celebrate 30 fruitful years of bedwetting treatment. I look back in pride and satisfaction but moreover, look forward to offering a better future for those children that are still suffering from this treatable condition.

Read 25 comments

  1. I need help with my son he was full dry bed but then he started school and thats it his in year 2 now and still wetting the bed any help doctors not helping as said his still to young but he was full dry me and partner can not believe how his gone from dry to wet. xxx

  2. Hello Sara,
    Your son’s condition is diagnosed as Nonorganic secondary enuresis; your child was dry for at least six months and relapsed. A relapse does not necessary imply psychological reasons; any change in the child’s life, including weather, birth of a sibling, or even a geographic change can cause a relapse.
    In order to give you better consultation, we would ask you to fill out our evaluation form. Please go to http://www.bedwettingtherapy.com/category/evaluation-form-by-dr-sagie

  3. Doctor my child is 3 year old. She started bet wetting. ( a week now).Before she use to leak not soak herself like this.
    We moved to Usa from India (6 months before), We have our new baby ( 2 months old), She started her preschooling ( 2 weeks old). If this all the reason for her behavioural change than what i have to do now?

    How should i help my child?

  4. My daughter has primary diurnal enuresis and has only been dry maybe 10 nights in her whole life. She is 7, has had renal ultrasounds, spine MRI’s, urodynamics with fluoroscopy. She has been on ditropan for 9 months which worked at first but is ineffective now. Higher doses only cause constipation. The Neuro-urologist feels that it is an underdeveloped segment of her brain. Do you have any suggestions? We are working with Dr Thomas DuHamel, but motivation doesn’t seem to help. Thank you for any help you can offer!

  5. What you describe is very common due to the change in her life. I’m sorry, but we only deal with children above 4 y.o. She is too young for any intervention. I would advise you to contact us after age 4 if she is still suffering from bedwetting.
    Good Luck!

  6. My son is 5 years old and we have tried to take off the pull ups at night and he still wets the bed. He makes it through some nights without wetting his pull up but most mornings he is wet. Should I take his pull up off?

  7. Hello Teresa,
    An easy but wrong method to deal with the bedwetting problem is by using pull-ups. It is perfectly alright when pull-ups are being used with 4-5 years old but when it is being used with older children, it suppresses any motivation to become dry. The message this gives the child is that they anticipate that he will wet the bed and that they do not expect him to cope with the problem. Instead of coping with bedwetting they perpetuate it as there is no learning process. As the child’s age progresses it might lead to low self-esteem, low confidence and additional emotional problems that could be avoided.

  8. Hello Brenda,
    The fact that your daughter wets only during sleep rules out any medical cause for bedwetting. We use the same urological system during the day and at night. If your daughter would have any medical problem that might cause bedwetting, she would also have diurnal enuresis (she would also be wet during the day).
    If you wish to learn more about our bedwetting solution, please go to – http://www.bedwettingtherapy.com/category/bedwetting-solution
    Thank you.

  9. I have a nine year old boy I have try all medication and we are still waking up really wet I can stop him drinking water at six and we have dinner around six half six then he goes to bed around eight I always make him go to the toilets but still the same he waks up wet can you please help me and my son from bedwetting please thanks tammy

  10. Hello Tammy,
    You’re doing a few common mistakes that could be corrected.
    I advise you to go to our website and fill out our evaluation form. That way we would get more info about your son’s condition and will be able to give you the best tips.
    Thank you

  11. Hi Dr. Sagie,
    My son is 10 and is a very deep sleeper. I have tried waking him up numerous times throughout the night and it takes a few minutes to get him up. He doesn’t hear his alarm while sleeping. I have gone to his pediatrician about this every year and they say he will grow out of it. I believe there is something more. I am trying my hardest not to get frustrated but we are expecting sibling #3 and his 4 ur old brother is showing signs of growing out of it before him. Please help!

  12. Hello Sharie,
    Most bedwetters are characterised by extremely deep sleep. Waking up the child is one of the most common mistakes parent’s make. By waking up your child at night the responsibility for staying dry is transferred from the child to the parents. The child empties his bladder regardless of the pressure within the bladder. There is no learning process and the child becomes accustomed to emptying his bladder during sleep. It is important for the child to take responsibility for staying dry.
    I totaly disagree with the apporach of “waiting to outgrow bedwetting”. Why should he suffer at his age?
    Most children will outgrow bedwetting spontaneously with no treatment between the ages 2-4 years old. The problem is that we cannot predict if and when bedwetting will stop.
    It is unjustified to let a child suffer for so long, to wake up every morning to a wet and smelly bed and to avoid sleeping away from home for fear of others finding out. In many cases, when there is no psychological problem, it might develop due to bedwetting. The child’s self-esteem and self-confidence can be affected. He invests a lot of energy trying to answer the questions “What’s wrong with me? Why does this happen only to me?, Why I can’t control my body?” He makes efforts to conceal the problem and it can make his childhood miserable. The fact that his younger sibling is almost dry, just makes things worse for him. I believe that as parents we should do our utmost to help our child to solve this problem.
    I have no doubt that our TheraPee program could help him stop wetting his bed for good.
    Feel free contacting us for any further questions.
    Good luck!

  13. My son is 12 years old and I’ve tried everything from waking him up at night to desmopressin. When he’s on his meds we mostly have good nights…. He never had a problem until he was 8 years old and I left his father. It’s embarrassing and he never wants to stay at other children’s houses because of it…. It makes me sad that I don’t know what to do

  14. Hello Amy,
    Waking up the child – This is the most common mistake. By waking up your child at night the responsibility for staying dry is transferred from the child to the parents. The child empties his bladder regardless of the pressure within the bladder. There is no learning process and the child becomes accustomed to emptying his bladder during sleep. It is important for the child to take responsibility for staying dry.
    You’ve tried medication to solve bedwetting. The advantage of medication is that some or even considerable progress might be seen during the initial stages of drug usage; however, in addition to possible side effects of the drug, there is a very high relapse rate (60-90%) when the patient stops using the medication.
    At your son’s age, bedwetting shouldn’t be neglected. He can be strongly negatively affected by the bedwetting issue.
    Please read more info about our TheraPee program. I believe that we can help.

    Good luck!

  15. I have the same problem with my 10 year old daughter. I need help she is the one that tells me she is a very deep sleeper and I believe her . I know she doesn’t want to do this any more. We need help!

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