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Bed wetting

Bedwetting in Children
Causes, Treatment & Management

Bedwetting (also known as nocturnal enuresis) is a common problem in children. 


It is known to affect around 1 in 10 children over the age of 6, and 1 in 20 children over the age of 10. By age 15, it will affect around one in 50 children.


Bedwetting can be primary (in the case of a child who has never been dry), or secondary (where the bedwetting occurs after a period of dryness).


There are several factors that can contribute to bedwetting. Some of these are:

  • Deep sleeper – this may mean that the child is not able to fully wake to the sensation of a full bladder overnight

  • Over-production of urine at night.

  • Small bladder capacity

  • Bladder urgency 

  • Family History – if a close family member wet the bed as a child, the child is more likely to experience the condition


Bedwetting is not caused by laziness or naughtiness.

When to seek help

  • Once a child reaches the age of 6-7 years.

  • In a child over the age of 5 years where the bedwetting is causing concerns with the child’s self -esteem or significant family frustration.

  • Where there are other co-existing daytime bladder or bowel problems, such as daytime urgency and/or wetting, constipation or soiling (poo in underwear).

  • When the bedwetting has restarted following a period of dryness (of 6 months or more)

Image by Markus Spiske

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