Eneuresis (Bed Wetting)
Enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting during sleep. Bedwetting is fairly common among children. It is often just a stage in their development. Bedwetting is more common among boys than girls.
Enuresis is when an older child (age 7 or older) wets the bed at night while sleeping. This could happen a few times a week or every night. Many kids who wet the bed are very deep sleepers. For most, urinating while sleeping is the only symptom.
Bedwetting is not a mental or behaviour problem. It doesn’t happen because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. A number of things can cause bedwetting. Some of the more common causes include:
Genetic factors (it tends to run in families).
Difficulties waking up from sleep.
Slower than normal development of the central nervous system. This reduces the child’s ability to stop the bladder from emptying at night.
Hormonal factors. Not enough antidiuretic hormone is produced. This is the hormone that slows urine production at night.
Urinary tract infections.
Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys.
Abnormalities in the spinal cord.
A small bladder.
For sleeping children who are old enough to control their bladders, the symptoms of bedwetting are obvious. Regularly finding urine-soaked sheets is a clear sign of the problem. Also, a child may wake and cry during the night when the wetting occurs, or wake up caregivers to alert them.
The most common complication of bedwetting is the impact on self-esteem and the emotional distress it causes children. Assuring children that the occurrences are accidental (and not blaming the condition on them) is key to managing the psychological effects. Many children who wet the bed may fear staying overnight at a friend's house in case they wet the bed there.