Bedwetting in Children

Child outdoors holding an umbrella - metaphor for bedwetting or enuresis
CHILDHOOD BEDWETTING (Enuresis) CAN BE TREATED.
Most children who wet the bed will eventually outgrow the condition. Although for some, this condition might persist into adulthood.
Even though most children have developed control of their bladder by the age of 52 , boys tend to develop proper bladder control and maintain dryness at night later than girls.
Whereas enuresis at ages 6 – 7 years becomes problematic because the child is in school and may experience social problems.

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HOW COMMON IS BEDWETTING AMONG CHILDREN?
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Around 19 % of school-aged children wet the bed.
In fact, it is one of the most common childhood problems.1

 

Infographic showing stats on enuresis

WHAT CAUSES BEDWETTING?
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Bedwetting (enuresis) can be caused by one or a combination of the following:4
Firstly, difficulty to rouse from sleep:4
This happens when the child is asleep and the brain doesn’t get the message that the full bladder needs to be emptied.
Secondly, an overactive or twitchy bladder:4
If the bladder is overactive, the bladder muscle becomes “twitchy” and can only hold small amounts of urine. A “twitchy” bladder may spontaneously contract during sleep, which can result in bedwetting.
Thirdly, the overproduction of urine during the night:4
If the child has low vasopressin levels (a naturally occurring substance) at night, then they may produce more urine than the bladder can hold.

 

Girl jumping in a puddle of water as a metaphor for bedwetting

WHY TREAT BEDWETTING?
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When a child is very young, enuresis may not seem like a concern. However, persistent bedwetting can be a distressing experience for both the child and the family as they get older.4,5
Aditionally, if left untreated, the child or teenager can suffer an increased risk of the following:1,4,5,6

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Strong feelings of shame and guilt.
  • Avoidance of social activities.
  • Underachieving at school.
  • A sense of difference from others.
  • Victimisation.

Most importantly, clinical research has shown that bedwetting can have a significant negative impact on a child’s emotional and social development.6

WON’T THEY JUST GROW OUT OF IT?
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On the whole, about 14 % of children grow out of wetting the bed each year. Even so, enuresis often doesn’t resolve by itself. In fact, for some children the problem continues into adulthood. Enuresis occurs in 2 – 3 % of adults.1

HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD OR TEENAGER WHO SUFFERS FROM BEDWETTING?
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  • Firstly, reassure your child that enuresis is a common problem and is not his/her fault.7
  • Secondly, encourage your child to go to the toilet frequently during the day, especially just before bedtime and on awakening.7
  • Thirdly, reduce the amount of fluid consumed in the evening.7
  • Fourthly, encourage physical activity.7

EFFECTIVE TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE.
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If your child is six years of age or older, still suffers from enuresis, and is unhappy and uncomfortable about it, you should contact your doctor for advice.2,7

 

For more on Understanding Bedwetting in kids




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