Bed–wetting, also referred to as nocturnal enuresis or nighttime incontinence, is the involuntary release of urine during sleep, occurring beyond the age at which one would typically expect to stay dry at night.
For many families, dealing with wet pajamas and bed sheets is a common occurrence, often leading to an embarrassed child. However, it’s essential to remember that bedwetting is not indicative of a failure in toilet training. Frequently, it’s simply a normal phase in a child’s development.
Typically, bedwetting is not considered a problem before the age of seven, as children may still be working on achieving nighttime bladder control at this stage.
If your child continues to experience bedwetting, it’s important to approach the situation with patience and understanding. There are various strategies that can help mitigate bedwetting, including lifestyle adjustments, bladder training techniques, moisture alarms, and, in some cases, medication.
Types of bed-wetting
Bedwetting mostly comes in two forms:
Primary bed–wetting happens when a person has never been dry through the night for at least six months.
Secondary bed–wetting happens when someone wets the bed again after abstaining from doing so for at least six months. The most common cause of secondary enuresis is a medical or psychological issue.
There isn’t a specific target age for achieving full bladder control, although the majority of children are typically toilet trained by the age of five. However, it’s not uncommon for some kids to continue grappling with bedwetting issues between the ages of five and seven. A small percentage of children may even experience bedwetting beyond the age of seven.
While most children eventually outgrow bedwetting without intervention, some may require support and assistance. In certain cases, bedwetting could potentially signal an underlying medical condition that needs attention.
Consult your child’s doctor or another medical expert if:
- Your seven–year–old child is still wetting the bed.
- After staying dry at night for a few months, your child begins to wet the bed.
- Your child snores, has hard stools, pink or red urine, frequent episodes of extreme thirst, and pain when passing pee in addition to wetting the bed.
Exactly what causes bedwetting is unknown. Numerous problems could be involved, including:
- A small bladder. It’s possible that your child’s bladder isn’t mature enough to contain all the pee they produce at night.
- No awareness of a full bladder. Your child could not wake up from a full bladder if the nerves controlling the bladder are slow to mature, and may impact those children that are deep sleepers more.
- A hormone imbalance. Some children’s childhood production of Anti–Diuretic Hormone (ADH) is not enough. Urine production at night is slowed down by ADH.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI). This infection might make it difficult for your child to resist the urge to urinate. Bedwetting, daytime accidents, frequent urination, red or pink urine, and pain while urination are possible symptoms.
- Sleep apnea. Bedwetting may indicate obstructive sleep apnea in certain cases. When a child has sleep apnea, their breathing becomes disrupted. This is frequently caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which are inflamed and swollen. Sleepiness during the day and snoring are possible additional symptoms.
- Diabetes. In a child who typically doesn’t experience nighttime bedwetting, it could be an initial sign of diabetes. Additional symptoms to be aware of might encompass frequent urination, increased thirst, excessive fatigue, and unintentional weight loss.
- Chronic constipation. A child with constipation may not have frequent bowel motions and/or have firm, dry feces. Long–term constipation can impair the function of the muscles used to pass feces and pee. Bedwetting is related to this.
- A problem in the urinary tract or nervous system. Rarely, variations in the anatomy of the nervous system or urinary tract are linked to bedwetting.
Although it can happen to anyone, boys are twice as likely as girls to experience bedwetting.
An increased risk of bedwetting has been associated with a number of factors, such as:
- Stress and anxiety. Stressful situations can make someone wet the bed. A new infant entering the family, enrolling in a new school, or spending the night away from home are a few examples.
- Family history. A child is more likely to wet the bed if one or both of his/her parents did so when they were younger.
- Attention–Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Kids with ADHD are more likely to pee the bed.