What is nocturnal bedwetting in children?

Nocturnal bedwetting can happen when a child cannot control their urination when they are asleep.

Bedwetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis, or night-time incontinence, is common in young children whose bladders are still developing. It affects 15 percent of children at the age of 5 years, and it is not considered unusual at the age of 6 years.

Pediatricians say it is one of the most common reasons for parents to seek medical help.

Girls will normally be dry at night, on average, by the age of 6 years, and boys by the age of 7 years. By 10 years, 95 percent of children are dry at night.

Types of enuresis

[child asleep]
Bedwetting is common up to the age of 5 or 6 years.

There are two main types of enuresis:

Nocturnal enuresis, or night-time bedwetting. Boys account for 75 percent of cases.

Diurnal enuresis, or lack of urination control during the daytime. This affects girls more than boys.

Night-time bedwetting can be either:

Primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE), when the child has not yet been dry for a long period.

Secondary nocturnal enuresis (SNE), when nocturnal bedwetting returns after a long dry period, usually of 6 months or more.

Up to the age 6 years, or perhaps 7 years for a boy, occasional bedwetting is normal, as long as the intervals between wet episodes are getting longer.

If the child of 6 or 7 years begins to wet the bed again after a long period without doing so, it may be worth seeking the advice of a primary care physician.

[sad boy]
Bedwetting can be worrisome for parents and children, but it normally resolves itself in time.

Other reasons include constipation and drinking too much liquid too close to bedtime, especially fizzy and other caffeinated drinks, as these increase urine output.

The Cleveland Clinic note that drinks that contain citrus and artificial additives such as dyes and sweeteners can irritate the bladder and add to the problem.

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