Bedwetting - what can it mean?

What is bedwetting?

Nocturnal enuresis, commonly known as bedwetting, is when a child that can control their bladder during the day experiences involuntary urination while asleep. In most cases, if the problem persists past the age of 5 it is considered a medical condition. If bedwetting happens less than 3 times a week, it is most likely considered primary nocturnal enuresis.

Whom may bedwetting concern?

Bedwetting is common in children. Other than allergies, it is the most common childhood chronic health issue. Bedwetting is seen more often in boys than girls and may pass with age.


  • Primary enuresis – connected with child’s inborn ailments and disorders.
  • Secondary enuresis – reverting to night-time wetting after at least 6 months of staying dry.
  • Monosymptomatic – a single dysfunction.
  • Polysymptomatic – occurs with other symptoms such as bladder instability, urgency or polyuria.

What causes bedwetting?

Childhood bedwetting may be caused by the following:

Bedwetting isn’t only a physiological issue; it can be a psychological one as well. A child who wets the bed may become more and more frustrated and find it hard to understand what is happening. The problem can be more distressing as the child grows older. What can be done about this?

Diagnosis and treatment

Children with urinary incontinence should be examined by a doctor. There are specific tests that can help make a proper diagnosis. Bedwetting can be caused by curable conditions, resolving the issue completely.

Diagnostic tests may include:

The doctor should explain the reasons for bedwetting to the child and their parents and discuss possible treatments. It is important that the child understands and accepts the suggested treatment: the more the child cooperates with their parents and doctor, the better chance there is for reducing or eliminating the bedwetting episodes.

What Might the Doctor Suggest?

1. Non-pharmacological treatment

The most common treatment is bladder control training, first during the day and then at night. The training may last up to a few weeks. 

2. Pharmacological treatment

These treatments might take up to a few months. Medication is aimed at one of the following targets:

If the number of wet nights is decreased by 90%, the treatment is considered successful.

Learn what you can do to help your child here.

Healthy emotions

Healthy emotions

Taking care of a loved one who needs long-term treatment can be a lot on one person’s shoulders. This may expose you to many different emotions.

Practical advice for carers

Practical advice for carers

If possible, the person under your care should have a separate room with easy toilet access or a commode.


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