Bed-wetting, or nocturnal enuresis, is the unintentional discharge of urine during sleep. It is a very common condition, affecting the majority of children at some point. Although most children between the ages of three and five begin to stay dry at night, the age at which children are physically and emotionally ready to maintain complete bladder control varies.
Bed-wetting is one of the most common health problems for school age children, affecting 5-10% of all seven year olds. In most cases, it resolves naturally within a few years, but in about half a percent of cases, symptoms continue into adulthood.
A common cause of bed-wetting at night at an early age is that the part of the nervous system that controls the child’s urine is not fully developed. Another reason is that the baby does not produce enough vasopressin, a hormone that causes the kidneys to reduce the production of urine at night. Some children also find it more difficult to wake up from the signals that the body sends out when the bladder is filled. Others have an overactive bladder, which means that the bladder is more sensitive to fullness and wants to contract and secrete urine very often.
There is help for bedwetting, but commonly children are only treated for it after the age of six. Exceptions occur if bedwetting is upsetting the child and they are asking for help. Treatments range from behavioral therapy, such as bedwetting alarms, to medication, such as hormone replacement. These are tested separately but can also be used in combination.
When to consult a doctor
Bedwetting is common in all children up to the age of six. After that, the condition begins to be called enuresis and is taken seriously by health care institutions throughout the country. If you feel anxious about your child bedwetting, or if the child asks you for help, there is always the opportunity to contact the care provider for advice. School nurses and school doctors can also help with various treatment programs if your child has trouble with bedwetting and asks for help or finds it embarrassing.
How APPOTEK can help
If your child suffers from bed-wetting, our doctors can advise you. If a physical examination is required, you may be referred to a physical care provider.