It was once believed that bed wetting was due to a sleeping disorder. This is because in some children snoring appears to accompany bed wetting. Snoring in children can sometimes be a result of what is known as obstructive sleep apnea (abbreviated to OSA). This breathing problem is much more common in adults, especially middle aged men, than it is in children but children can still develop it. Obstructive sleep apnea means, “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 reason for OSA to develop is children are due to large adenoids. The adenoids are to be found situated behind the nasal passages and are similar in their function to tonsils as they are “collections of lymph glands” that serve to fight infection.
Plenty of children who have large adenoids do snore but don’t necessarily suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Nor are they any more likely to wet their beds on a consistent basis. Those children who do develop obstructive sleep apnea suffer short periods of time throughout the night when they actually stop breathing all together. This can be a dangerous condition that can affect many areas of a person’s life including endangering their physical health, causing problems with school and friends and problems in the family. Obstructive sleep apnea in children can result in restless sleep at night, which can lead to excessive daytime tiredness. It can also lead to waking up feeling unrefreshed in the morning and morning headaches. Children who suffer from OSA have more trouble concentrating in school than do other children and they often suffer from memory loss and can be inattentive and grouchy towards others.
In those proponents who see a connection between OSA and bed wetting, they believe that it is the chemical imbalance that takes place in the brain due to obstructive sleep apnea that increases the potential for bed wetting. It is important to keep in mind that it is in only a small amount of children that snoring and/or OSA happens along with bed wetting. In the case of OSA for children, the adenoids and tonsils are often standard medical procedure and this seems to have a positive effect on the incidence of bed wetting as well. However this does not automatically mean that in children who both wet their beds on a regular basis and snore that they should have their tonsils and adenoids taken out. It is best to consider other options before going straight to surgery.
In instances where snoring and bed wetting began around the same approximate time it might be a good idea to discuss with the doctor if the tonsils and adenoids might be to blame. While snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is both considered “uncommon causes of bed wetting” the fact that they started occurring close together might be an indicator of where the problem lies. It is important to schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor to discuss all the health possibilities and implications of both snoring and bed wetting.