Bedwetting – Nocturnal Enuresis

Nocturnal enuresis is the involuntary emptying of the bladder overnight. Bedwetting is very common with approximately 1 in 5 children in Australia wetting the bed.

Bladder control overnight can occur at different ages in children. Usually children will become dry or experience more dry nights within one year of daytime toileting competence. Once the child turns 4.5 years and is bedwetting consistently overnight then this may be a time to start seeking assistance.

Bedwetting is NOT caused by laziness, bad behaviour, drinking to much in the evening, resistance to toilet train or heavy sleeping. Wetting the bed overnight is quite unconscious for the child. They go to bed dry and when they wake in the moming they are wet. No recollection of it occuring ovemight. If your child is waking immediately after they wet the bed this is a sign they are still growing out of bedwetting and some more time to mature and practice may be needed.

Most children who wet the bed beyond the age of 4.5 years will have a family history of bedwetting. Other causes include an overactive bladder at night that cannot store urine, daytime bladder urgency and constipation. If your child is experiencing the latter this should be discussed with your GP or continence professional.

Bedwetting can cause stress for parents and child. The main concern is often the social and emotional effects. Children can experience a loss in self esteem and confidence especially once they enter the school system.

When to seek help – family history of bedwetting, the wetting is upsetting the child, the child wants to become dry and is of school age if the child who is usually dry overnight starts wetting consistently at night. Help can be accessed through your GP(referral to Enuresis clinic) or private bedwetting specialist. Bedwetting alarms are often recommended and are very successful if used within a supervised and supported programme.

(Reference PMH, Continence Foundation Australia)

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