A very interesting report published recently in the journal Urology advises doctors to consider constipation as an underlying cause of bedwetting. The researchers reported that of 30 children and adolescents seeking treatment for bedwetting, all had a large amount of stool in their rectums even though most were experiencing normal bowel movements.

Because most people think of constipation as infrequent bowel movements and/or hard stools, it doesn’t come to mind that regular bowel elimination might still be considered constipation. “The kind of constipation associated with bedwetting occurs when children put off going to the bathroom. This causes stool to back up and their bowels to never be fully emptied,” states lead author Steve Hodges, M.D.

Abdominal X-rays were used to identify the excess stool, with ultrasound being another option for detection. The children were treated with MiraLax, which is polyethylene glycol, a synthetic osmotic laxative. Osmotic laxatives have the effect of retaining water in the colon, which softens the stool. Magnesium hydroxide and magnesium oxide are two natural forms of osmotic laxative.

For children who are experiencing severe bedwetting and who face surgery or medications, constipation should be ruled out first. The researchers cautioned, “Any medical therapy for bedwetting should be overseen by a physician.”

The findings of this study should be enlightening for many parents, and relieving for many children facing bedwetting. If you or someone you know is currently looking for a solution to bedwetting, be sure to rule out constipation by talking with a doctor about these new findings.