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Enuresis Causes

July 27, 2010 2 min read

EM writes, What exactly causes enuresis?

Enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting and is defined as the involuntary passage of urine in the night by children older than 5 or 6 who should have developed nighttime dryness. About 90% of children have always had bedwetting, also know as primary enuresis. The other 10% have had at least 6 months of dryness, then resume wetting, which is known as secondary enuresis.

We know that bedwetting is inherited and that the chance of a child bedwetting is 44% if one parent had bedwetting, up to 77% if both parents had bedwetting. There is no single, simple cause for enuresis. Some factors that play a role in bedwetting are:

  • Decreased arousal from sleep in response to a full bladder
  • Small bladder capacity
  • High nighttime urine production
  • Constipation
  • Other factors, such as evening fluid loading, medications, attention problems, urinary problems, sleep apnea

Since there no single cause, looking at multiple factors is important. Bedwetting alarms address the decreased arousal from sleep by helping your child to develop the ability to wake to a full bladder. Small bladder capacity may change as your child grows older but bladder "stretching exercises do not seem to speed up this process. High nighttime urine production may be adjusted by drinking earlier in the day.

The other factors listed above can be looked at by your health care provider if you have concerns for your child. The biggest thing to remember is that your child is not wetting on purpose and primary enuresis is seldom due to emotional or psychological issues. Being supportive and offering a solution such as a bedwetting alarm when your child is ready is a good way for parents to help their child stop bedwetting.

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