Bedwetting at UnityPoint Health Waterloo - Center for Urology

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The medical term for bedwetting is enuresis, which is accidental urination in children at an age that they are expected to have control of their bladders. It may be diagnosed in girls at age five and older and boys at age six and older.

What causes bedwetting?

  • Medical conditions – Urinary tract abnormalities, urinary tract infections or constipation can trigger bedwetting.
  • Bladder problems – Sometimes, the bladder is relatively small or muscle spasms can prevent the bladder from holding a normal amount of urine.
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Poor toilet training
  • Psychological problems – Stress is sometimes associated with enuresis.
  • Hormonal imbalance – A deficiency in the body's natural antidiuretic hormone leads to overproduction of urine at night.
  • Genetics – Children who suffer from enuresis often have a parent who encountered the same problem at the same age.

How is bedwetting treated?

It is important to remember the child is not at fault and should not be punished for bedwetting as he or she has not control over it. Treatment may include

  • Medication
  • Positive reinforcement following dry nights
  • Alarms to alert the child that wetting is occurring
  • Bladder training
  • Decrease of evening fluid intake