Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting) in Children

Bedwetting in children

The experiences children have between their births till the age of 5 years have a great deal of significance in their long term emotional and psychological health.  During this period, termed as the formative years in children, they could come across certain developmental and behavioural problems. However, one of the problems, commonly seen among children during this period is Nocturnal Enuresis which is also called as Bedwetting. While Bedwetting in children is not uncommon until the age of 5 years, it is considered as an issue to be looked at if the condition persists frequently, even after the child crosses 5 years of age. Bedwetting is easily treatable and to find out how, let us first understand, what it is all about.

Bedwetting or Nocturnal Enuresis is a condition in children when they accidentally or involuntarily pass urine during their sleep. This condition can happen even if the child has been trained to visit the toilet during such occasions. While Bedwetting is not a very serious issue, it can very much become a cause of embarrassment for both parents and children, if the condition prolongs. This condition might prevent children from confidently agreeing to spend time with their relatives and friends, especially when it involves overnight stays.
Bedwetting is classified under two types. They are known as Primary Nocturnal Enuresis and Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis.
  • Primary Nocturnal Enuresis is a condition where a child continues to bedwet even after 5 years of age and has never been free from bedwetting for more than 6 months duration. This type of Bedwetting is generally due to improper toilet training or occasionally neurological disorders.
  • Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis is a condition of Bedwetting in children where they again start to wet the bed, after a period of relief for 6 months or more. Psychological conditions and stress related disturbances generally lead to this type of Bedwetting in children.
Most of the children stop Bedwetting on their own but if the condition persists very frequently even after the child crosses 5 years of age, then it is advisable to take a medical opinion.  From every parent’s point of view, before seeking a Doctor’s advice, it would be good and advantageous to know the causes of Bedwetting. This will surely help in understanding the condition better and have a more confident and fruitful discussion with the Doctors.
Though a child gets toilet trained by the age of 3 to 5 years, Bedwetting can still happen upto the age of 15 years, in cases of some children. While there is no specific reason as to what might cause Bedwetting, there are certain factors which might influence this condition.
  • Small functional Bladder: Kids Bedwetting might happen due to an underdeveloped bladder, which might not be capable enough to hold on to the quantity of urine, produced at night. This might cause them to wet the bed at night.
  • Trouble waking up at night: The brain usually responds to the signals, sent by a full urinary bladder, with repeat signals, thereby making the child to wake up at night and visit the washroom to empty the bladder. Bedwetting might happen, if the child does not respond to these signals and as a result, does not wake up in time at night.
  • Psychological or Emotional Issues: Emotional stress can also contribute to Bedwetting in Children, especially in those, who are subjected to a sudden changes like moving to a new residence or sleeping away from home at a new place or even staying away from a loved one for a long time.
  • Abnormal fluid intake habits: Drinking large quantities of water or milk in the evening hours after 7pm and going to bed without emptying bladder can cause bedwetting.
  • Constipation: This is a common medical condition faced frequently in children as well as adults. However, difficulties faced due to chronic constipation and bowel movement, can lead to Bedwetting.
  • Urinary tract infection: A child suffering from Urinary Tract Infection is also likely to face this issue, due to inability to control the urge to urinate.
  • Hormone imbalance: Generally there is a hormone in the human body referred to as an Anti-diuretic hormone, which controls the amount of urine produced at night. If the child fails to generate this hormone, then it might lead to a cause for Bedwetting.
Generally Bedwetting is more common with boys than girls. Though most of the children who wet the bed, wet only at night, there are certain indications which could prove that Bedwetting is more than just a passing phenomenon. Hence, these symptoms if noticed should not be ignored and a doctor should be consulted for further advice.
  • Wetting the bed even during the day
  • Urgency to pass urine
  • Burning sensation while passing urine
  • Difficulty in Bowel Movement.
Bedwetting is treatable if the child and parents are motivated to deal with this issue on a positive note. All it needs is confident and comfortable interaction with our Pediatric Urologist. Though Bedwetting as a condition can be embarrassing for both the parent as well as the child, there is no real need to feel stressed or uncomfortable while discussing the condition with your doctors as they understand you and your condition in the best possible way. This is where NU Hospitals in Bengaluru, the city’s most experienced dedicated Pediatric Urology Hospital makes the all-important difference.  NU Hospitals sets high standards in providing exceptional medical care as it is well-equipped with a highly professional and competent medical team coupled with the most advanced and technology driven medical equipment. Conditions like Nocturnal Enuresis require a patient hearing to the child’s problems and that is where doctors at NU Hospitals score over others in diagnosing as well as treating Bedwetting in children. Treatment for Bedwetting is decided based on the complexity of the condition. The diagnosis process might include taking a complete medical history, physical examination and few tests. Usually in children, Bedwetting conditions reduce by themselves over a period of time but in case it persists for a considerable period then doctors might suggest remedies which include, proper medications, advice on lifestyle changes as well as using effective devices which facilitates in helping the child to get up at night and visit the washroom.
It is not that unusual for children as well as teenagers to wet their bed sometime. The main cause behind Bedwetting is because they don’t wake up in time at night, when their bladder is full. A recent study housed in the database of the National Centre for Bio-technology Information (NCBI) which is a part of the United States National Library of Medicine indicates that about 16% of children in the age group of 5 wet their bed. This percentage gradually decreases with increase in age as in the age group of 15; about 1% is likely to encounter Bedwetting issues. It isn’t a serious issue as long as parents discuss it comfortably, at full length and with the right Pediatric Urologist. Children don’t wet bed to irritate their parents. It’s all about being patient with your child as you both work through the problem together.

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