refers to the involuntary passage of urine during sleep when control
of urine could be reasonably expected.
It is a common problem
in children up to the age of 5 years. Approximately 40% of 3 year
olds wet their beds as do 10% of 5 year olds. Bed-wetting is considered
a problem if it persists after 6 years of age. Bed-wetting that
occurs after a long period of dryness is called secondary enuresis.
There is usually no
obvious cause and most of these children seem to have a delay in
development of bladder control. Some may have a small bladder capacity
or a sensitive bladder. Boys suffer more and the problem seems to
run in families Since most of bedwetting episodes occur during deep
sleep, and so the child is helpless.
Is there an
Yes, diseases like
urinary infection, diabetes and abnormalities of urinary tract may
present as bed-wetting.
Can it be
can be psychological. The cause could be stress and anxiety such
as separation from a parent or arrival of a newborn baby in the
Is it important
to visit the pediatrician?
Yes, this is very important, as it well exclude any underlying physical
problem or disease.
Tips for parents
Parents can help the child to adjust to the problem:
• Do not restrict daytime fluids
but discourage excessive drinking 2 hours before bedtime.
• Avoid caffeinated drinks.
• Do not scold, blame or punish
• Encourage & praise the
• Improve access to the toilet
at night. Use a night lamp if needed.
• Empty the bladder at bedtime.
• Avoid diapers but protect
the bed with a sheet.
• Involve the child in morning
clean up and laundry work.
• Ensure a shower for the child
before going to kindergarten or school.
advice if there is:
Continued wetting beyond 6 years.
• Day time wetting.
• Wetting in a child who was
What are the
Many methods have been
used to treat enuresis, but bed-wetting alarms have the highest
cure rates (80%). Drugs may be used effectively in some children
for short periods of time but do not provide long term cure and
have some side effects. These have limited use.
Alarms- How they help?
Alarms are useful to
train a child to wake up when he/she needs to pass urine at night.
The moisture sensitive sensor is placed in the underwear that is
connected to the noise box with a wire (wireless buzzers also available).
A loud noise is produced when urine is passed. The child wakes up,
switches off the alarm and goes to the toilet. 8-12 weeks of alarm
usage is necessary before the child eventually becomes dry.