Enuresis, more commonly known as bed wetting, is normal for very young children. There are two types, primary and secondary. Primary enuresis is characterized by a child over the age of five who has never gained bladder control overnight and wets the bed more than twice a month. Secondary enuresis is when a child has gained bladder control overnight for six months or more, and then begins to wet the bed again. Generally, children fall under the category of primary enuresis; however, around 25 percent suffer from secondary enuresis, according to Urology Health. Studies indicate that nocturnal enuresis may be one of the most common pediatric health issues. The percentage of five to seven year olds that suffer from the condition may be as high as 25, and twice as many boys as girls experience it through age 13. In addition, one to three percent of adolescents and adults experience a problem with bed wetting.
Other than the obvious symptom of bed wetting, some children have the polysymptomatic form of nocturnal enuresis. It is important to distinguish between the two in order to treat the problem correctly. The diagnosis is based on the presence or absence of an overactive bladder. Research has suggested that twice as many children present with the monosymptomatic form of nocturnal enuresis, and that the polysymptomatic form was associated with other bladder and bowel problems.
There is no single cause of nocturnal enuresis. According to ClinicalKey, factors associated with the condition are varied. Some of the factors involved are listed below.
Small bladder capacity
It has been determined that genetics play a role in a child’s nocturnal enuresis; if one or both parents experienced the condition as a child, then the odds are that their child will also experience it. Some children just cannot arouse themselves from sleep to feel their bladder. In addition, a child’s bladder may be too small to hold urine throughout the night. Another factor may be that the child’s CNS (central nervous system) hasn’t developed enough to respond to a full bladder. There have been some correlations identified between nocturnal enuresis and other conditions such as diabetes. Usually, primary nocturnal enuresis is not associated with psychological issues; however, they could be a factor in secondary nocturnal enuresis.
Treatments for this condition depend on the factors that are related to it. In many cases, treatment is not needed at all since 5 to 15 percent grow out of this condition annually. For those who need help, there are three main ways of treating the condition: enuresis alarms, behavioral therapy, and medication. Only severe cases that have not responded to other treatments and have other medical conditions need to be medicated. The most common treatment, according to Dri Sleeper, is an enuresis alarm. This is an alarm that reacts to moisture when attached to the child’s bed sheets or pajamas. In most cases, the alarm will wake the child in time to stop the urination and compete it in the toilet. Behavioral therapy in conjunction with an enuresis alarm may be beneficial.