Bedwetting in children
Bedwetting, or enuresis, is a common problem in childhood, affecting 5-7 million children each year. However, it’s a sensitive topic which can be difficult for parents to approach. Typically, bedwetting is not considered an issue until the age of 5. About 5-10% of children still wet the bed at age 7.
Bedwetting can be stressful for both children and parents. Parents are often told their child will outgrow bedwetting without intervention. While many children do simply outgrow bedwetting, if you feel that the issue is interfering with your child’s life or preventing social activities like camps or sleepovers, it’s a good idea to seek treatment.
The Enuresis and Voiding Disorder Clinic at Children’s Mercy evaluates and treats children who have urinary problems in the daytime or bedwetting at night. We take a collaborative approach to treatment, making sure your child receives the unique and compassionate care they need. Patients are seen by a nurse practitioner who works with a pediatric nephrologist to evaluate, treat, and educate children and families.
What causes bedwetting in children?
There can be several factors that contribute to why children wet the bed, including:
Making more urine than the bladder can hold overnight
Excessively sound sleep
Irregular bowel movements or constipation
A family history of bedwetting
Read more about the causes and treatments for bedwetting from a Children's Mercy expert and find out when and how to seek help.
Daytime urinary problems
Children who experience daytime urinary symptoms may have a voiding disorder--a problem with the way the body signals when it's time to urinate and empties the bladder. Daytime voiding disorders can appear around the age of toilet training but can develop later in the preschool through teenage years.
Children with daytime symptoms or difficulty with urinary incontinence have the additional stress of embarrassing wetting that happens in the daytime at home, at school, or at play. Some of these children may also have problems with recurrent bladder or urinary tract infections. About 50 percent of children with nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting) may also have daytime voiding symptoms.
What to expect
When we first see families in our clinic, we do a physical examination and a urine test to rule out a serious medical condition. Additional tests may be needed if the child has had an abnormal urine test, previous urinary tract infections, pain with urination, or other urinary complications.
We develop individual treatment plans for each child and their family. Options for treatment may include behavior interventions, diet changes, medications, or bed wetting alarm therapy.
Education is also important to help families learn how to help reduce or eliminate the child's incontinence. A registered nurse in our clinic provides age-appropriate education information to children, teens, and their families.