Dribbling During Sleep
Many parents of young children are familiar with the dribbling problem – when involuntary drops of urine will discharge during the day. This typically happens in children age four to eight. This problem is relatively easy to treat through specific exercises combined with Cognitive Behavioral treatment, helping the child to recognize signals from the filled bladder traveling to the brain and to respond accordingly.
A less familiar problem is dribbling during sleep. The child does not recognize the signal from the bladder, relaxes the sphincter muscle, starts to urinate, and stops immediately by contracting the sphincter muscle. The consequences of this behavior are the wet spot on the child’s clothes which generally doesn’t reach the sheet.
On one hand, this is a good sign, since the child corrects himself by stopping the flow of urination; it means that his subconscious restraint mechanism during sleep is partially functioning. From a learning point of view, this is a much more advanced condition compared to a child who wets himself completely (which means that the childe has no any learned skills). Having said that, from an Enuresis specialist point of view, this is one of the most difficult conditions for bedwetting treatment. In those cases, treatment with a bedwetting alarm is useless since the very small amount of urine will not activate the alarm. The specialist has to be very creative and to consider different approaches which will be suitable for such cases. From my experience, the treatment for this child takes longer than the usual treatment. Sounding counter-intuitive, the easiest cases to deal with are of children that wet completely every night.