This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
Involuntary discharges of urine at night is a frequent and very disagreeable affection; it is most common in young children, and is apt to cease at or before puberty, but is occasionally prolonged to a later age. The discharge during sleep sometimes occurs in consequence of dreams, but more frequently is altogether involuntary, without the least consciousness on the part of the patient, and dependent solely upon the relaxation of the sphincter under the stimulus of the urine. Occasionally the incontinence is experienced also during the day, so that the patient cannot retain his urine as long as persons in ordinary health. This affection is often attended with an acrid condition of the urine, which is high-coloured, and loaded with uric acid in solution, or even with sediment of the acid or its salts. In this case there is a combination of irritation of bladder with debility of the sphincter. More frequently, however, the urine is pale and watery, and secreted in unusual quantity. The affection is said sometimes to be hereditary, or at least it occurs frequently in several members of the same family.
I have often found country people under the impression that their children became affected through playing with and handling the blossoms of dandelion (which is a powerful diuretic), the bright yellow flowers of which are usually very captivating to children. Very likely the handling and smelling the dandelion, and the sprawling about on the damp grass may together have some effect. Treatment. - Our object, in these cases, must be to improve the health, and strengthen the general tone of the system. For this purpose, we may give the patient tonics, such as infusions of Gentian, Cascarilla, or Colombo, or all combined, with small doses of Acetate or Sulphate of Iron, with cold bathing. Friction over the body, with a rough towel, for ten minutes after the bath, will be beneficial, and attention should be paid to the diet, which should be nourishing and easy of digestion. Occasionally, benefit will be derived from taking one or two grains of Extract of Henbane (this dose for a child of ten years old) at bedtime, which may be repeated if found of advantage. The child should be allowed but little drink in the evening, and that not of an acid nature; and he should carefully and completely empty the bladder before going to sleep.