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Bed Wetting: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Sep 27, 2023

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What Causes Bedwetting?

Symptoms of Bed-Wetting

Risk Factors Of Bed Wetting

Diagnosis of Bed-wetting

Physical examination.

Treatment of Bed-wetting

Moisture alarms


Complications Of Bed-Wetting

Bed Wetting

Bedwetting is the unintentional passing of urine while you're asleep. It's also referred to as nighttime incontinence or nocturnal enuresis. After a child reaches the age where it is appropriate to be expecting that they will sleep through the night dry, we can find bedwetting.

An embarrassed child with soaked sheets and pajamas is a typical scenario in many families. Don't panic if your child has an accident in the bed. The inability to instruct a child to use the toilet does not necessarily indicate bedwetting. In many cases, it's simply a typical developmental stage for a child.

Children under the age of seven who wet the bed typically don't have any problems with it. At this age, your child may still be learning to manage his or her nighttime urination.

If your child continues to urinate in the bed, handle the situation with calmness and sympathy. With lifestyle adjustments, bladder training, moisture alarms, and even medication, bedwetting can be decreased.

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What Causes Bedwetting?

There is no recognized cause for bedwetting. several elements, including:

  • Small bladder. It is possible that your child's bladder is still developing and won't be able to hold all of the midnight urination.
  • Being unaware that the bladder is full. If the bladder nerves develop slowly in your child, a full bladder might not wake them up. This may be especially true if your child has trouble falling asleep.
  • Hormone imbalance. Some children do not produce enough antidiuretic hormone (ADH), a hormone, during their developmental stages. ADH inhibits the nighttime production of urine.
  • Urinary tract Infection. Your child could find it difficult to control the urge to urinate as a result of this infection, sometimes known as a UTI. Possible signs include pain while urinating, red or pink urine, frequent urination,
  • Sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea might occasionally manifest as bedwetting. When a child's breathing is disrupted while they are asleep, it is called sleep apnea. This can usually be brought on by inflamed, swollen tonsils or adenoids. Additional symptoms like snoring and daytime tiredness could exist.
  • Diabetes. Bedwetting may be the first indication of diabetes in a youngster who generally sleeps dry at night. Other signs may include excessive urination, increased thirst, intense fatigue, and weight loss while eating more than usual.
  • Persistent constipation. A child with constipation has insufficient bowel motions, and the stools may be firm and dry. The muscles responsible for moving feces and urine may not function properly if constipation lasts a long time.
  • A problem with the nervous system or urinary system. Rarely, differences in the structure of the nervous system or urinary tract have been connected to bedwetting.

Symptoms of Bed-Wetting

There truly isn't a target age for having full bladder control, although most children are entirely potty trained by the time they are 5 years old. Some youngsters still struggle with bedwetting between the ages of 5 and 7. A small number of children continue to wet the bed after age 7 occasionally.

Risk Factors Of Bed Wetting

Even though bedwetting can occur in anyone, males are twice as susceptible to it as girls.

An increased risk of bedwetting has been linked to a number of circumstances, including:

  • Anxiety and stress. Events that are stressful can cause bedwetting. Examples include starting a new school, having a baby in the family, or spending the night somewhere other than home.
  • Family background. A child has a higher probability of peeing the bed if one or both of their parents did so when they were young.
  • ADHD is an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Children with ADHD wet the bed more frequently.

Diagnosis of Bed-wetting

The doctor can examine your child to see if there is any underlying medical condition that might be causing them to wet the bed. One may develop a treatment strategy using:

Physical examination.

  • Talking about the symptoms, the number of fluids consumed, the family history, the bowel and bladder habits, and the problems brought on by bed-wetting.
  • Testing of the urine to look for indications of diabetes or an infection.
  • Imaging procedures such as X-rays or other imaging studies of the kidneys or bladder to examine the urinary tract's structure.

Additional evaluations or testing of the urinary system, as necessary.

Treatment of Bed-wetting

Bedwetting typically disappears on its own for most children. With the help of your child's healthcare provider, discuss treatment choices if necessary. What will be best for your child can be decided upon together.

Changing your child's lifestyle may be effective if they are not excessively worried or humiliated by the unusual wet night. Avoiding coffee, consuming less beverages in the evening, and urinating just before bed are a few of them.

Other treatments might be beneficial if lifestyle modifications fail, if your child is disturbed or concerned about wetting the bed, or if both of those conditions apply.

If bed-wetting has been identified, a medical professional should investigate underlying problems such as constipation or sleep apnea.

Moisture alarms and medication are two possible treatments for bedwetting.

Moisture alarms

The moisture-sensitive pad on your child's pajamas or bedding is connected to these tiny, battery-powered gadgets. When the pad detects moisture, the alarm goes off. Most pharmacies provide these moisture alarms for purchase without a prescription.

Ideally, the wetness alarm goes off right when your child starts to urinate. This is supposed to occur in time to help your child wake up, stop a stream of urine, and go to the toilet. Someone else might need to listen to the alarm and wake your child if they are heavy sleepers.

Give a moisture alarm plenty of time if you use one. Typically, it takes between one and three months to see any sort of effect. To have dry nights, it could take up to 16 weeks. For many children, moisture alarms work well. They may offer a better long-term cure than drugs and have a reduced chance of negative effects.


Your child might be given drugs for a brief amount of time to stop bed-wetting if lifestyle adjustments do not help them stay dry. Various medications have the following potential effects:

  • Decrease the amount of nighttime urination. Desmopressin (DDAVP) is a medication that reduces the amount of urine produced at night. However, taking too much liquid at the same time as your medication can have negative effects. If your child exhibits symptoms like fever, diarrhea, or nausea, do not administer desmopressin. When using this medication, be sure to carefully follow the directions.
  • Desmopressin comes in the form of an oral tablet. Only children aged six and above are permitted to use it.
  • The bladder should be calmed. An anticholinergic medication like oxybutynin can help decrease bladder contractions and increase how much urine the bladder can store if your child has a small bladder. If daytime wetting also happens, this could be extremely useful. Typically, this medication is taken in combination with other medications. It is usually suggested when other therapies have failed.
  • Your child may occasionally be given more than one kind of medication. However, there are no guarantees that medication will be effective, and medication does not solve the problem. When medication is stopped, bedwetting frequently reappears. This might go on until a different age for each child when bedwetting stops naturally.

Complications Of Bed-Wetting

Although annoying, bedwetting without a physical cause poses no risk to health. Bedwetting, however, can lead to a number of difficulties for your child, including:

  • Guilt and embarrassment can lead to low self-esteem.
  • loss of social activities like summer camp and sleepovers.
  • Rashes on your child's bottom and genitalia, particularly if your child sleeps in wet pants.

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