Sleep_boy_bed_wetting

Of bed-wetting and tonsils

There has been a theory around that removing the tonsils can reduce bedwetting in children. It seems like a drastic step and now new research has suggested that it does not work anyway.

It is estimated that approximately fifteen per cent of five year olds wet the bed at night. Quite a few theories have been put forward over the years as to what causes bed-wetting. Among those theories have been smaller bladders, producing more urine at night, and having trouble waking up when it is time to go.

In some cases these theories themselves ask more questions. For instance why would some some children produce more urine than others, given they were consuming similar volumes of fluid? One answer for this has been that difficulty breathing can trigger the release of hormones that increase urine production.

In children the most common reason that the upper airways become blocked leading to problems breathing is enlarged tonsils: you can see where this line of logic is heading!

Your tonsils are almond shaped pads of glandular tissue at the back of your throat. They are usually at their largest between four and seven years of age and they provide a first line of defense against invading microbes that enter via the mouth and nose. They also produce some antibodies that help defend against future infections.

Despite their useful roles if the tonsils become enlarged, restrict breathing, and therefore increase hormones that encourage urine production then removing them may ease bed-wetting…or will it?

Tonsillectomy has been used to treat bed-wetting. To see if it works researchers asked more than 300 children to, with their parents, complete a questionnaire. Most of these children were scheduled to have their tonsils removed and some were scheduled to have other surgery. Approximately one third of the children were bed-wetters.

The results showed that many children who had tonsillectomy had stopped bed-wetting within six months. However, so had children who had undergone unrelated surgeries.

Based on these results the researchers say they cannot recommend tonsillectomy as a treatment for bed-wetting. They say that time seems to be the healer, and it is a much cheaper and gentler one.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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