Very few children wet the bed because of a problem called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). In this problem there is a partial blockade to or intermittent interruption of the flow of air to the lungs, enough to seriously interfere with breathing. The most common cause of OSA in childhood is large adenoids, which are located behind the nasal passages, and like tonsils, are collections of lymph glands. Most children with large adenoids snore but do not have OSA. The few who develop OSA actually stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. This causes very restless sleep, morning headaches, and sleepiness the next morning at school. OSA results in changes in the chemical balance in the body and especially the brain, and some doctors believe this might be what causes the bedwetting. In these few children, bedwetting goes away when the tonsils and adenoids are removed. This does not mean that tonsils and adenoids should be removed in children who wet the bed and snore. However, if both the bedwetting and snoring developed in your child around the same time, please mention this to your doctor. The right questions and a good checkup will allow the doctor to decide if this uncommon cause of bedwetting is a concern in your child.
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