Bedwetting In Children

Is bedwetting normal in children?

Fourth percent of children wet their beds up to their third birthday.  By the age of 6 this reduces to only 15%. A few continue to wet their beds occasionally until they are 12 years old.  Bedwetting has a large familial component. If you ( as the parent) wet the bed as a child, your child may continue to wet the bed too. This is often a normal part of development.

What can I do to help my child who still wets the bed?

  1. Limit fluids before bedtime (at least 2 hours)
  2. Remove any food or drink triggers that you may have noted increase the likelihood of bedwetting.
  3. Reassure the child that it is nothing to be ashamed of and that he/she will eventually outgrow the problem.
  4. Use an alarm system to wake your child or ask your doctor to prescribe the alarm device used to wake your child when they begin to wet the bed. This method has been shown to assist over 75% of children who use it over 3 months.
  5. Make sure family, friends, schoolmates and siblings do not tease your child over the issue.
  6. Investigate and address any social family or academic problem that may be stressing the child. You can receive assistance from our specialist psychiatry clinic.
  7. Reward your child for the effort made towards staying dry like waking up to the alarms and avoiding late night drinks and NOT only the dry night.

When should I worry about my child’s bedwetting?

When a child who had been dry for some time restarts bedwetting

When there are other associated symptoms like urgency( being unable to hold urine when the urge strikes), frequency ( requiring to pass urine frequently), blood stains in urine or underwear, cloudy urine  and pain or a burning sensation when passing urine.

What could the above symptoms mean?

Occasionally bedwetting may occur due to an infection, diabetes or other abnormalities of the bladder or kidneys. These occur in less than 1% of the cases of bedwetting.

A child that had developed dry nights and restarts bedwetting may be undergoing family or school stress and this needs to be addressed.

What should I expect when consulting my doctor?

You should be reviewed a general outpatient doctor/ paediatrician.

You will be asked questions about a family history of bedwetting, triggers in terms of foods or drink and any other unusual symptoms you may be concerned about.

You may be sent to the laboratory for a urine test to check for any infections. They may also order other tests they may find necessary.

If your child is found to have a urinary tract infection it will be treated as such  and the bedwetting may gradually stop. If it persists they may refer your child to a specialist who deals with the kidneys and urinary system.