Passionate About Cincinnati
and the Moms Who Live Here

When It’s More Than Just Bed Wetting


Where it all started.

Bedwetting. Every kid grows out of it right? At least that is what I thought. I certainly never put bed wetting and surgery in the same sentence. My son, Judah, is 7 years old and he still wets the bed at night. When we were potty training, his dad and I figured he would get his bed wetting under control as he got older but he has never woken up to use the bathroom at night. I thought it was from growing up in a house with 3 barking dogs and having to learn to be a deep sleeper. Little did I know that bed wetting could be more than just that and might need more attention to stop.

The pediatrician told us not to worry too much because some kids take longer than others. When I took him to his 6 year check up, they told me that some kids have a weaker signal from their bladder to their brain telling them to wake up and go to the bathroom. Again, we didn’t think too much of it.

It wasn’t until I go a phone call from his grandmother saying he had been complaining of a burning sensation when he would pee, that I decided it was time to take him to the doctor and figure out what was going on. During the examination, the doctor called me over. She informed me that my son’s urethra was the size of a pin head. Then, she dropped the word I really didn’t want to hear when it came to my kiddos – surgery. I didn’t know who was more freaked out, me or my son. We left that day with a referral to consult the urology department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. 

To the hospital we go.

The urologist confirmed what the pediatrician told us. My son needed surgery. The condition is called meatal stenosis. It is found mostly in boys who have been circumcised and, in Judah’s case, who have sensitive skin. Judah has eczema and when you mix that with an already sensitive area of skin like the head of the penis, the body does what it can to protect and repair itself. According to the urologist, the urethra should be about 1/3-1/4 the size of the head of the penis and Judah’s was not. For Judah, going to the bathroom never had that relief feeling everyone else gets. The doctor explained it as holding your thumb over a hose that was running. His bladder was never empty which hints at the bed wetting because that is the time of day when he is relaxed. While the doctor couldn’t promise that surgery would fix the bed wetting, he did say it could help it. It also could stop it, but we wouldn’t know for a couple months what the long-term impact would be. 

The surgery would take about 5 minutes. All they are doing is cutting the hole larger and putting 2 stitches on each side to hold it open so it wouldn’t heal back together. Recovery time would be about 24 hours. 

Here comes surgery.

The morning of the surgery came and Judah was “dying” of hunger and thirst. We went to the hospital and they got us all checked in. Judah didn’t even care about being there because they had all sorts of video games to play. It wasn’t until they called us back to the pre-op room that Judah realized this was actually happening. He didn’t want me to leave his side. The nurse said he could have medication to “chill him out”. He was all for that. After about 20-30 minutes it had kicked in. He was talking all kinds of crazy and doing all kinds of crazy things. When I walked him back to the OR I kissed him and told him he would kick butt. He started laughing so hard because I said butt. 

I walked out to the waiting room and had started nursing my 8 month old when they called my name for the doctor to talk to us after the surgery. Everything went perfectly and when he started waking up we could go see him. Que big sigh of relief and my happy dance. 

When we got home he was ready to go. He was back to his bouncy, crazy self. He wanted to play and I was trying to get him to relax, but it wasn’t happening. So I decided to send him to school the next day. Now, I’m not the best at admitting I did something stupid and that was stupid. The day after he went to school he woke up sore and was walking around like a cowboy. I let him stay home the next day with an ice pack. After that day of rest, he was ready to go and get back to normal activities.

The best part though… since his surgery, the bed wetting has actually gone down and has been easier for him. Sometimes bed wetting is just that simple, but as my story shows… sometimes it’s something more.

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