Bedwetting Facts

By: Renee Mercer, MSN, CPNP

Nighttime bedwetting, medically described as primary nocturnal enuresis, is a common problem affecting an estimated 5 to 7 million children in the United States. Chances are, your child has a classmate, friend or teammate who wets the bed. Although common, bedwetting is seldom discussed outside the family, and little factual information on this topic is provided to parents.

Review of Bedwetting Facts

It is very important to understand the facts about bedwetting, because bedwetting can cause problems for children and their parents. In the absence of factual information, misconceptions proliferate. Several misconceptions about bedwetting are: that a child's bedwetting is caused by drinking too much fluid before bedtime; that the child has deep-seated psychological problems; and that the child is too lazy to get out of bed to void.

These misconceptions do little to point parents in the right direction for effective treatment. Parents of bedwetting children all agree that their child has never developed the ability to spontaneously wake to the feeling of a full bladder. Research demonstrates that bedwetting alarms continue to be the most effective way to speed up the development of this response. While “waiting for the child to outgrow it” is often the recommendation, you can effectively cut years off the total time that it takes for your child to stop wetting independently.

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