Messy Dreams...Messy Life
When a child makes the transition from the world of diapers to the world of potty-training, a few accidents along the way are unavoidable. For most children, these accidents begin to become less frequent and disappear altogether as they get older and are better able to control their bladder. For some children, however, bed-wetting may persist beyond their potty-training phase, and in some cases, could potentially point to an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.
Bedwetting and Sleep Apnea
If a child suffers from sleep apnea or any other significant sleep disorder, they are not getting the proper and restful sleep they need. As a result, their response time when they are asleep is affected and/or decreased, preventing them from waking up when their bladders are full. Additionally, sleep-disordered breathing places unnecessary stress and pressure on the bladder, resulting in children needing to urinate more frequently. This increased need to urinate in combination with the inability to wake up when they do need to use the bathroom results in bedwetting.
Bedwetting isn’t the only way to identify sleep apnea in children. Other symptoms include:
- Pauses in breathing or coughing
- Restless sleep
- Mouth breathing
- Sleep terrors
In addition to these other sleep symptoms, children with sleep apnea are also more likely to:
- Perform poorly in school
- Have a short attention span
- Develop learning problems
- Have behavioral problems
- Gain excessive weight
- Be prone to hyperactivity
- Experience fatigue
ADHD and Sleep Apnea
Studies have shown that at least 25% of children diagnosed with ADHD may also have sleep apnea. Like with adults, the longer sleep apnea in children goes untreated, the more at risk that child becomes of developing mental and physical health ailments. And just like adults, sleep apnea inhibits children’s cognitive and emotional functions. In severe cases, sleep apnea has been linked to physical growth and cognitive delays, and heart problems.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Children
As we shared in this blog, there are a few different treatment options for your child. More often than not, enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the cause of this disorder. Removing the enlarged tonsils or adenoids clears the airways and reduces breathing difficulties, effectively eliminating sleep apnea.
Surgery is not always the answer, though. For some children, a CPAP or an oral device is necessary. Oral appliance therapy can be a great solution for teens who do not need their tonsils removed and have a fully developed facial bone structure. Meanwhile, CPAP is better suited for smaller children whose mouths and jaws are still developing.
You can learn more about sleep apnea in children here.
Looking to talk to a sleep specialist? Dr. Kent Smith and Dr. Marie Dibra have over 30 years combined experience helping patients with their sleep challenges. Please fill out a consultation form to schedule an appointment today.