Could There Be A Bigger Reason For Your Child's bed-wetting?

March 3, 2014

Your potty trained four year old starts wetting the bed. All of a sudden, this easy-mannered child becomes irritable, sleepless and emotional. Is it just his age, or could it be something more? This is a hard question, as most small children have periods of behavior like this. One thing to consider -check his tonsils. All the above mentioned symptoms can actually be a side effect of chronically diseased tonsils.

Tonsillectomy has been the topic of controversy over the last several years, but in some cases, the benefits outweigh the side effects. Tonsillectomy is defined as a surgical procedure that can include removal of the adenoids, which completely removes the tonsil, capsule and the muscular wall.

When the tonsils are infected, many times they hold infection and become harder and harder to clear with antibiotics. Over time, and after multiple infections, the tonsils swell and become ulcerated. These 

 When the child experiences sleep apnea, the brain focuses on getting oxygen and can cause the child to lose control of the bladder, causing enuresis (bed wetting). As with excessive tiredness, the child can also become irritable, emotional, show growth problems, less interest in school as well as hyperactivity.

According to Dr. Hilton McDonald, Mercy ENT, “There are several key factors in addition to bed wetting to watch for, when deciding if a tonsillectomy is right for your child:

  • Recurrent throat infections- 7 or more episodes in the past year, or 5 episodes per year over the last two years.
  • Antibiotic allergy/intolerance when treating throat infections, which can shorten the course recommended, causing it to reoccur.
  • Periodic fever
  • Enlarged tonsils when the child is well
  • Ulcers on the tonsils between infections.
  • Nighttime snoring
  • Sudden poor school performance
  • Change or loss of appetite
  • Sudden behavior problems
  • Bad breath, even after brushing teeth

If your child has displayed any of these key traits, it’s recommended that you have their situation evaluated. Though tonsillectomy shouldn’t be done to change a child’s behavior, or cure bed wetting alone, it’s important to rule out that possible cause.”

According to The American Academy of Otolaryngology, “The actual function of the tonsils is to serve as a secondary lymphoid organ, filtering antigens that enter the body through the mouth or nose. This activity is peaked between the ages of 3 and 10 years. This age is when a child is most likely going to experience infection and side effects due to a diseased tonsil. “The AAO has set out guidelines to help determine rather the tonsils should be removed or in which case they should be left and symptoms treated.

As with any medical condition, it should be emphasized that all decisions for or against surgery are dependent upon the individual patient's particular situation. To make an appointment with a Mercy ENT Specialist, call 417-627-8566.

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