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Bedwetting is also known as enuresis and it is defined as the involuntary or unconscious passing of urine while sleeping by an individual who is considered old enough to have bladder control. Around 90% of children should have bladder control by the age of six and by the age of ten most children should be able to sleep through the night without wetting their bed. The exact age at which a child should have stopped wetting their bed varies slightly according to the source of the information.

Children who do not learn bladder control are said to have primary nocturnal enuresis. However if a child starts to wet their bed again after having learned bladder control and after not having wet their beds for a long period of time, then they are said to have secondary nocturnal enuresis.

Bed wetting can be an extremely humiliating experience for children and continuous bedwetting may have a negative effect on their confidence and emotions. It is also a difficult problem for parents to deal with as it may leave parents feeling frustrated and unsure of how to handle the situation. The problem may be severe enough to put a significant amount of strain on the child’s relationship with their loved ones. Because the child will pass urine while sleeping without realising what he/she has done until he/she wakes up, the child will not understand how to correct the problem. Anger or punishment for the child is therefore not a suitable solution.It is important for parents to handle the child with care and to comfort and reassure the child when the child wakes and has wet their bed. The causes of bedwetting are most commonly related to behavioural, neurological and developmental problems. Genetics also plays a role, in that if one or both parents experienced problems with bedwetting then their child is more likely to experience enuresis (bedwetting). Medical causes of bedwetting include bladder abnormalities, bladder infections, hormonal imbalances and constipation.

Stress, conflict and emotional upsets or traumatic experiences may also trigger bedwetting in children. For children who are wetting their bed, substances that increase urine production (like caffeine), should be avoided at night. If your child wets their bed two or more nights a week and is over the age of six, or if your child’s bedwetting is harming their self- confidence, then it is advisable to consult your healthcare practitioner.


The child will pass urine while sleeping without realising what he/she has done until he/she wakes up.


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