Bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis is involuntary urination during sleep.
Bedwetting or enuresis can be a major problem for children and is the most common childhood urologic problem. Bedwetting is found more commonly in boys than in girls. Bedwetting is never done on purpose or due to laziness on the child's part.
There are two types of bedwetting
- Primary enuresis
- Primary bedwetting refers to bedwetting that has been ongoing since childhood without a break. A child with primary enuresis has never been dry at night for a significant length of time. Secondary enuresis
- Secondary enuresis is bedwetting that re-starts after the child has been dry at night for at least six months.
During the first two to three years of life, bedwetting at night is normal and expected. At 5 years of age, around 1 in 6 children still wet the bed. This means that in a school class of thirty, there will be five who wet the bed regularly. Bedwetting is often a natural part of development, and children usually grow out of it. It can be related to toilet training that occurred too early or was too demanding on the child.
Majority of children learn bladder control between the ages of 2-4 years. By the age of 10, only one in 15 still wet the bed. Even in adulthood 1 in 100 still suffer from the problem.
Most often, bedwetting is not a sign of any medical or emotional issues. It is often due to a maturational delay in the development of bladder muscles and the ability of the bladder to withstand the pressure of a large urine volume. Only 5-10% of bedwetting cases are due to underlying medical conditions. However, if bed-wetting continues beyond the age of 6-7 years, it is necessary to consult a doctor.
Enuresis is often hereditary and a child is more likely to encounter the problem if both parents wet the bed when they were young.
Bedwetting can be very stressful for families. Children can feel embarrassed and guilty about wetting the bed and anxious about spending a night at some other place. Some parents may be very critical putting too much pressure on the child. Parents may also feel helpless, but providing emotional support and reassurance can help your child feel better until the problem resolves.