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Enuresis (bedwetting) is the involuntary discharge of urine during sleep. It is called bedwetting after the age by which bladder control should have been established. In children, voluntary control of urination is usually present by the age of five. Nevertheless, nocturnal enuresis is present in about 15 to 20 percent of otherwise healthy 5-year-old children, 7 percent of healthy 7-year-olds, 5 percent of healthy 10-year-olds, 2 to 3 percent of 12 to 14-year-olds and 1 to 2 percent of normal children at age 15. Enuresis is slightly more common in boys than in girls and occurs more frequently in the first born child.
Alternative Names of Enuresis are: Bed Wetting.
Complications of Enuresis
Causes of Enuresis
No one knows for sure what causes bed-wetting, but various factors may play a role.
Signs & Symptoms of Enuresis
Diagnosis of Enuresis
Your child will need a physical exam. Depending on the circumstances, urine tests may be done to check for signs of an infection or diabetes. If the doctor suspects an anatomical abnormality or other problem, your child may need X-rays or other imaging studies of the kidneys or bladder.
Treatments of Enuresis
Most children outgrow bed-wetting on their own. If there's a family history of bed-wetting, your child will probably stop bed-wetting around the age the parent stopped bed-wetting.
Generally, your child will be your doctor's guide to the level of necessary treatment. If your child isn't especially bothered or embarrassed by an occasional wet night, less aggressive treatments may be all that's needed. However, if your grade schooler is terrified about wetting the bed on a sleepover, he or she may be more motivated to try additional treatments.
These small, battery-operated devices — available without a prescription at most pharmacies — connect to a moisture-sensitive pad on your child's pajamas or bedding. When the pad senses wetness, the alarm goes off. Ideally, the moisture alarm sounds just as your child begins to urinate — in time to help your child wake, stop the urine stream and get to the toilet. If your child is a heavy sleeper, another person may need to listen for the alarm.
If you try a moisture alarm, give it plenty of time. It often takes at least two weeks to see any type of response and up to 12 weeks to enjoy dry nights. Moisture alarms are highly effective, carry a low risk of relapse or side effects, and may provide a better long-term solution than medication does.
If all else fails, your child's doctor may prescribe medication to stop bed-wetting. Various types of medication can:
Sometimes a combination of medications is most effective. There are no guarantees, however, and medication doesn't cure the problem. Bed-wetting typically resumes when the medication is stopped.
When to seek Medical Advice
Most children outgrow bed-wetting on their own — but some need a little help. In other cases, bed-wetting may indicate an underlying condition that needs medical attention.
Consult your child's doctor if:
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This site does not provide medical or any other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. The site and its services, including the information above, are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment. Do not delay seeking or disregard medical advice based on information on this site.