Bedwetting appears with every fifth child who is more than 6 years old and disappears before far most enter their teens. The condition is hereditary. Why some children suffer from bedwetting is unknown but psychological causes are very rare. There are currently two effective treatments, medication and bedwetting alarm – the latter being the most effective.
When a child involuntarily wets itself at night it is called bedwetting, involuntary nocturnal urination or Enuresis nocturne (Latin)
Most children learn in time to keep dry at night. However, every child in 5 will still wet its bed at the age of 6. When the children reach their teens only very few (2-3%) still cannot stay dry during night. Around 1% of all adults live their life to the end still wetting their bed.
It is very rare to find a good explanation for why the child suffers from bedwetting. It is hereditary for sure, which means that if the child’s siblings or parents have suffered from involuntary nocturnal urination there is a heightened risk that the child will have the same problem.
Involuntary nocturnal urination is caused by a discrepancy between the amount of urine produced during the night and the amount of urine the child’s bladder can contain. If more urine is produced during the night than what the bladder can contain, it results in the child needing to urinate. Most children wake up and go to the bathroom but children who suffer from bedwetting do not wake up and therefore wet their bed.
The amount of urine produced at night depends on how much the child has drunk before bedtime and on a certain hormone (the antidiuretic hormone). The hormone makes sure the child does not produce too much urine during night.
With some children it is possible to find a different explanation for bedwetting. Typically, this involves a child who used to be able to stay dry at night and suddenly starts to wet its bed. The explanation can be psychological or medical. Psychological explanations can be problems at school, divorce or death in the family. Medical explanations can be cystitis or diabetes. However, with far most children there is no explanation. Former presumptions that bedwetting is caused by psychological problems are rarely true. The child does not wet its bed in protest or to have its way.
Causes for bedwetting:
- The child produces too little antidiuretic hormonethe
- Child’s bladder is not yet fully developed
- Rarely psychological or medical conditions
Even though involuntary nocturnal urination is not dangerous and most children grow out of it, it has great significance for the child and therefore must be taken seriously. The child does not want to sleep over at friends and perhaps tries to avoid camps or trips involving spending the night because it is embarrassing to wet your bed. It may result in teasing and lack of self-esteem.