What Are the Different Types of Enuresis Alarms?

V. Cassiopia

Enuresis is the medical term for the involuntary discharge of urine. There are several types of enuresis alarms that can either be used in training individuals on how to prevent enuresis or to help caregivers know when attention is needed. The three main types of enuresis alarms are wearable alarms, pad-type alarms, and wireless alarms.

Bed-wetting in adults may be caused by bladder cancer.
Bed-wetting in adults may be caused by bladder cancer.

Medical studies have found that enuresis is more effectively prevented by using alarms than by using medication or other measures. Uncontrollable urination has led to bed-wetting in children and to daytime wetting of clothing in aged adults. Enuresis alarms have been primarily developed for situations involving nocturnal enuresis, although some can apply to diurnal enuresis, as well.

Exercising during pregnancy may help with bladder control issues.
Exercising during pregnancy may help with bladder control issues.

All of the enuresis alarms function by sensing moisture. When this is sensed, the alarm is activated. Three main types of enuresis alarms have been marketed: wearable alarms, pad-type alarms, and wireless arms. Most wearable and pad-type alarms have a maximum sound level of 80 decibels, which is slightly louder than a dishwasher or about the same noise level as being on a busy street. Wireless alarms can have louder sound level maximums, however the sound volumes are usually adjustable.

Wearable enuresis alarms are relatively small and are designed for general comfort during use. The moisture sensing unit is placed on the clothing in the pelvic area, and a small flexible cord running underneath the clothing connects the sensor to the alarm. The alarm itself has an off-on button or switch, which is usually fastened to the exterior clothing in the chest or shoulder area. Most clip-on alarms use AAA batteries.

Pad-type enuresis alarms do not attach to an individual, but have a sensor that detects moisture in a pad upon which the individual is lying. This type of sensing has been used for both young children and for aged adults, however this alarm may be more suitable for caretaker purposes, since the amount of moisture required for sensing is more likely to be for monitoring purposes than for training. Another drawback of this type of alarm for children is that movements during sleep can shift them off the pad, preventing moisture sensing and activation of the alarm.

Wireless enuresis alarms work similarly to the wearable types, except that there is no cord connection between the sensor and the alarm. These alarms are especially good for use with children because youthful restlessness can interfere with cord-connected sensing. They also provide more flexibility in alarm placement, which can be anywhere in the room.

The moisture sensing unit is called the transmitter, and this sends a wireless signal to the alarm. However, a possible drawback to this type of alarm is that the alarm switch can now be relatively far away, which would make it difficult to turn the alarm off without getting up from the bed to reach it. Newer versions have been developed, however, which allows a dual alarm to be located in other rooms, which can be monitored by parents or medical attendants.

Both wearable and wireless types of enuresis alarms can be obtained with tone and sound selection menus as well as with programmable sounds, such as a parent’s voice. Additional features are also being added to these alarms in accord with comments and reviews by individuals who have used them effectively, but desire added convenience in their use.

Urinary tract infections can cause bed wetting in adults.
Urinary tract infections can cause bed wetting in adults.

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