Reasons for Bed Wetting

Most children who wet at night have primary nocturnal enuresis and research indicates that this is indeed hereditary. Researchers have identified two or three genes named ENUR1, ENUR2 and ENUR3 that have all been associated with primary nocturnal enuresis.

Average chances you child will have a bedwetting issue:

  • If you were a bed wetter, than your child has a 50% chance of being a bed wetter to.
  • If you and your spouse were both bed wetters, then your child has a 75% chance of being a bed wetter.
  • If neither one of you was a bed wetter, you child still has a 15% chance of being a bed wetter.

This issue is both hard on the children as well as the parents. Parents feel that this is because they may not be a parenting properly or in some cases parents think that the child is too lazy to go to the bathroom at night. Children feel awful when they wet, especially as they get older. Some may feel that this is happening because they are not doing something right.

The reason children wet at night is because they have to urinate AND there are a number of reasons that children have to urinate at night.

Bed Wetting Reasons:

  • Their bodies have not transitioned to only needing to urinate during waking hours
  • Their signal from their brain to wake us up to go potty has not fully matured
  • They sleep too deeply to be awakened by this signal - this is referred to as "arousal dysfunction".
  • There is imbalance in the bladder muscles i.e. the muscle that contracts to squeeze the urine out is much stronger than the muscle that holds the urine in.
  • The bladder is too small to hold the normal amount of urine
  • They produce more urine than a normal size bladder can hold
  • They drink too much before bed
  • They may be consuming a diuretic substance such as chocolate or colas that increase the urine output
  • Constipation can reduce bladder capacity.
  • It could be a medical issue such as:
    • diabetes
    • urinary tract infection (especially in girl
    • a hormonal imbalance.
    • Sickle cell anemia
  • Allergy to milk or other food sensitivities.

So what is a parent to do if his/her child has not achieved night time control and is still wetting at night past the age of 5?

One of the first things I would recommend is discussing this with your child's pediatrician or better yet, a pediatrician that is skilled in treating bed wetting. Based on your child's history, a physical exam and tests, the child's pediatrician should be able to determine the cause and should be able to recommend a treatment option.

Call the National Kidney Foundation at 1-800-622-9010 for referral to a pediatrician in your area who has a special interest in treating bed-wetting.

We also provide you with some excellent information on treatment options for bed wetting and information on bed wetting medications. This information will help you have a good dialogue with you health care provider.

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Still need help. (4/29/2012) Reviewer: Christina (Longview, Washington) The information provided was really helpful but I still need help on trying to find ways to help my daughter stop having accidents. She doesn't have much to drink during the day and after 6pm she has nothing to drink. I wake her up during the night to go the bathroom and she still has accidents. we wash her clothes and bedding only everyday. What else can I do get her to stop wetting the bed. I am getting yelled at for it and it is all around really stressful.