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I've struggled with bedwetting for pretty much all of my life, and although thankfully things are improving now, there have been many challenges and difficult times.

When I was a young kid, I didn’t see that it was anything out of the ordinary – I suppose I just assumed that everyone wet the bed, but obviously as I got older I realised that wasn’t the case and for a while I was very angry about still wetting the bed.

For much of my childhood I wore nappies to bed which may seem a trivial thing to get upset about, but I became very worried that somehow all my friends would know, even though there was no way they could find out. By the time I started high school I was feeling very low about it all – I was convinced that I was the only teenager in the world still wetting the bed.

When I stopped wearing nappies it was good in the longer term, but hard to get into a new routine. Dealing with a wet bed is no fun, and I had many disrupted nights. It was especially worse on school nights of course – if I woke up wet in the middle of the night, there was no way I could go back to sleep without getting up and changing, which meant I had less sleep, but if I slept through until morning, it was always a rush to get changed and clean in time.

One of the biggest issues is the stigma surrounding bedwetting, which doesn’t exist with other conditions – for example I knew people at school with things like asthma and diabetes and they quite happily talked about it. But I would never even consider talking about bedwetting, and up until recently only people within my family knew.

Getting rid of this sort of stigma would be such a huge improvement – if it was easier to talk about it and know that people wouldn’t make any sort of fuss then I wouldn’t have missed out on so many things: sleepovers, school trips and the like.

Although the 'statistics' show that there are a lot of teenagers who do wet the bed it is hard when you don't actually know anybody else who does, so you have nobody to relate to. Even though I washed myself every morning, I was still convinced that the smell would give it away and that people at school would find out. I missed out on lots of sleepovers and school trips and had to come up with lots of excuses.

I was doing a lot of the suggested things like cutting back on certain drinks and making sure I went to the toilet twice before bed and by the time I turned 16 I was having more dry nights than before but was still wetting at least three times a week, often more.

I had looked around online and found the ERIC website and emailed the helpline for information about medicines as I thought it might be time to try that again because it had been several years since I'd last seen the doctor. I knew my parents weren't so keen for me to be on medication, but the reply from the ERIC Helpline also mentioned a bedwetting alarm which I had never tried before.

I looked into this further with my dad and he ordered one to try out. When I first started using it I had no problems waking up when the alarm went off but I found it really, really hard to stop the flow and hold on long enough to get to the toilet.

The ERIC helpline said it might take a while for the alarm to work so I was determined to persevere and I have been getting gradually better at holding on. I have definitely started having more dry nights and I actually had nine dry nights in a row not that long ago!!!

It has been a bit up and down since then, but I have been keeping track and most weeks I am having more dry nights than wet ones.

And because I am getting much better at holding on when the alarm goes off, if I do start to wet I usually only end up with a small wet patch in my pyjamas and hardly ever have to change sheets.

When I was having wet nights all the time and not getting anywhere I felt really down, but I'm much more positive now and I'm determined that I'll be completely dry before I turn 18.

I think it is important to try and see some of the positive sides. I have always had a lot of support from my parents and my younger brother. Also recently I was staying with a friend for a few days and had the courage for the first time to tell him about my problem and that I would be wearing incontinence pants as a safeguard whilst staying there – I was very relieved that he was not disgusted in any way and was happy that I had told him.

I just want to let others suffering with bedwetting know that it isn't something to be ashamed of, and although it might take a lot of time and patience, things will definitely get better.

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