Nocturnal enuresis, commonly called bed wetting, is involuntary urination while asleep after the age at which bladder control usually occurs. The chances of bed-wetting by a child increases by 50-75% if their parents had the same problem in their childhood, suggested leading pediatricians.
The likelihood of a child exhibiting nocturnal enuresis is about 50% if one parent had the same problem in the early years. That probability jumps to 75% if both parents could not control their bladder while sleeping during their childhood. If none of the parents had wet the bed as a child, the chances that their child will wet the bed drops to 15%.
‘The likelihood of a child to bed-wet is about 50% if one parent had the same problem in the early years.’
"Parents have to understand that bed-wetting is mostly genetic apart from many other reasons," said Kanav Anand, a pediatric nephrologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. "In bed-wetting children, the level of arginine vasopressin, a hormone that decreases the production of urine by the kidneys, goes down during sleep, causing the bladder to fill slowly," Anand said.
About 85% of children develop complete bladder control by five years of age. More boys tend to wet bed than girls up to the age of 12 years. Many a times the children either have a smaller urinary bladder or do not realize that their bladder is full, Anand said, adding that consulting a pediatrician in such situations is helpful.
The health experts also said that constipation and some symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be linked to bed-wetting in children, so it is important for the parents to check with a pediatrician.
P.K. Pruthi, a Delhi-based pediatric nephrologist, said sometimes mental stress, such as caused by sexual abuse or death in the family, becomes the cause of bed-wetting among children. The parents of a child who wets the bed even after the age of three years should seek a medical investigation of the problem, Pruthi said. "There are some medical conditions like urinary tract infection, diabetes and sleep apnea which are associated with enuresis," said Pruthi.