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What is Bed-Wetting?

Bed-wetting is involuntary urination while asleep. Bed-wetting is a fairly common occurrence in children. In some cases, it can continue into the teen years. Many children may stay dry for months, only to have a recurrence of bed-wetting. Other children may wet several times a week, without going through a dry spell.

Children who have never been able to stay dry at night are said to have primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE). Children who have managed to stay dry, but have a recurrence, are said to have secondary enuresis.


Bed-wetting is not usually a symptom of any underlying physical disease or illness.

The medical term for bed-wetting is nocturnal enuresis.

What Causes Bed-Wetting?

Bed-wetting is generally caused by a delayed maturity in the bladder control mechanisms. This delay can occur for many reasons. Some common reasons for bed-wetting are: genetic predispositions, hormones, and emotional anxiety.

Children may have a genetic predisposition to bed-wetting. Children who have a parent who wet the bed are more likely to do so.

Hormones may also be a factor in bed-wetting. New research has shown that children who bed-wet may have a decrease of a hormone known as ADH , or anti diuretic hormone. These children can produce an excessive amount of urine.

Emotional anxiety, stress and disruption in a routine may also cause bed-wetting. Many children simply wet the bed because they consumed too much liquid for their bladders to hold.

If you child has problems staying dry at night, take them to see their pediatrician. The pediatrician will perform tests to rule out any underlying conditions, such as urinary tract infection or diabetes. Once these have been ruled out, the doctor will generally advise you on what methods are best to help your child overcome the bed-wetting issue. Pediatricians may choose to prescribe medication for your child which will help them stay dry at night.

What You Can Do

If you have a child who wets the bed, try to reassure him or her that you understand their embarrassment. Try not to punish or scold the child. When you do the cleanup, make it as casual and easy as possible. You can also teach a child to clean up after themselves. They can learn how to strip their bed, place their wet sheets in a hamper, and remake their beds. Most children do not deem this as punishment, and they feel they are taking control of the situation and are proud of themselves.

Will Bed-wetting go Away?

Yes. Bed-wetting usually goes away with time. Until then, limit the amount of liquids your child drinks at night, and give them extra attention throughout the day. This works well for the child who is anxious or feeling upset about their bed-wetting issue.

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