From about the age of seven I've had a bedwetting problem. At first my parents put it down to being lazy but as time went by they realised there was more to it, as the wetting started to happen throughout the day too. After having many scans it was found I had a scar on my left kidney, which they thought was connected with my wetting problems. It was later found that my left kidney was only doing 10% of the work with my right doing 90%, which caused frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).

Right the way through primary and secondary school I had wetting accidents and didn't realise it was happening; other times I would be unable to get to the toilet in time as my brain got the message too late. I was teased and bullied about it.

As I grew up I was able to semi re-train my bladder, which meant the accidents stopped during the day but still happened at night. It came to light at the age of 16 that the bedwetting was something I would have to get used to as it was never going to go away. I thought I would never have children or get married as it would affect whoever I was with.

But despite everything, I went on to have four children and I am happily married.

My son suffers too

My nine-year-old son also has continence problems including bedwetting and soiling during the day, without knowing it’s happening. The soiling is due to underlying constipation and we hope that in time this problem will be resolved.

With his bedwetting they trialled him on desmopressin, which was effective for a while but then stopped working. Along with his continence problems he has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, and Dyspraxia – a condition which affects minor motor control, balance and hand, eye and foot coordination.

We have to put him in pull ups every night, which for a boy of nine, who would like to stay over at friends’ houses, is not good. He too is being bullied about his problems. I believe his social life and wellbeing are being affect by these difficulties as other children his age are doing things that he just can’t do like going on residential trips with the school or staying at friends’ houses.

Our son is a very special boy. The way we as a family handle his problems is not to stress over them and try and make sure we have everything he needs. The biggest problem we face is staying away from home as we have to take a lot of things to manage his conditions.

I feel to blame

Sometimes I can’t help feeling like it was something I did that led to him having continence problems, as I suffered with them too. At times I feel that I and my son are alone in the world as there isn’t a lot of information out there for parents and children with these difficulties. Better awareness and education is needed as many parents are being judged for something their child can’t help.

In the last few weeks we have bought Dry Night bed mats to see if they may be helpful, but they are still really expensive for just one pack of seven. I believe there should be more financial help for parents in terms of getting supplies to help children with continence problems. In the case of my son, he has picked holes in all the waterproof covers we have bought him, which has meant we have had to buy him a new mattress every six months.

I hope that by sharing my story I can help other people going through this who may think they are to blame for their child’s wee or poo problem. I don’t know anyone else who has a similar problem to me or my son and feel very alone. 

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