Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: A Bedwetting Alarm Could Have Helped a Young Sarah Silverman

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Bedwetting Alarm Could Have Helped a Young Sarah Silverman


“At this point, that I was – and would be for many years to come – a chronic bedwetter. The word "sleepover" to a six-year-old bedwetter has roughly the same impact of, say, "liver cancer" to a 40-year-old alcoholic. The moment the word is spoken, gruesome images of your near future flood your mind. At least with liver cancer, people gather at your bedside instead of run from it.”


Comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, partner of Welsh actor Michael Sheen (“Masters of Sex,” “Twilight”), from her autobiography The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee.


Inappropriate but brilliant Sarah Silverman, best known for her eponymous television series, is perfectly comfortable openly discussing what, for many, is a shameful secret: bedwetting. Silverman revealed in her best-selling autobiography that she wet the bed until she was 16. While promoting her book in 2010, she admitted she recently experienced nocturnal enuresis (the medical term for bedwetting).

While Silverman did not have a bedwetting alarm by DRI Sleeper (although she might want to have one now, just in case), her parents went to great lengths to help her and find a “cure.”

When to Call a Doctor

A child who wets the bed until he/she is seven-years-old is considered normal; after the age of seven, a doctor should be consulted. In the U.K., the line between “normal” and “of concern” is at age 5. Parents should remember the age of 5 to 7 represents the final stage of potty training. Being able to control the bladder while sleeping is a feat: it is a process that involves coordinated action of the muscles, nerves, spinal cord and brain.Some things a
parent should note: is the child a heavy sleeper? Does the child drink citrus or caffeine? (If so, consider stopping the intake of caffeine and monitor the enuresis.).

A doctor can determine if the problem is medical – bladder or kidney infections, constipation, diabetes, obstructions, psychological stress, food sensitivity or another ailment.

Sarah’s Diagnosis

Silverman was tiny for her age and it was speculated that her bladder was very small. Silverman’s parents considered liquid intake before bed, a bedwetting alarm, diapers, and a therapist, who diagnosed the ailment which still affects her today: debilitating depression. That irresponsible therapist put the then 14-year-old on Xanax, until she was taking 16 pills daily, and had to be slowly weaned off. Since 1994, she has successfully been on a low-dose of Zoloft.By 16, the daily nocturnal enuresis ceased. Silverman’s father was bedwetter, and it’s believed the ailment is hereditary. Because he had experienced the trauma, shame and embarrassment, he was notably supportive of his feisty daughter, who he taught to swear like a sailor when she was three years old, just for a laugh. Silverman, as fans know, never stopped.


Paying it Forward

Silverman, whose comic persona features her alternately narcissistic as well as self-effacing says "Look, there's not much useful to take away from this book," halfway through her memoir. "It's largely stories of a woman who has spent her life peeing on herself." She was certainly paid well to candidly discuss her life (a reported £1.6 million), but surely she was encouraged by the possibility that, as a famous celebrity, she could influence someone else with the ailment. In fact, during that same book tour, she cited an appearance by American actress Jane Badier (“V”) on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson,” in which Badier revealed she’d been a bedwetter, as the impetus for turning what was her “deepest, darkest secret” into something that was just “part of my story.” She told USA Today, “And now it's nothing to me, just part of my story. So I feel like I'm paying it forward for another kid who's in the same situation.”

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