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Bedwetting Causes and Cures
No. 18 (Updated 6/2011)

Many children continue to wet their bed during the night even when they are approaching their teen years. While most children stop wetting the bed by the time they are age 3, some continue until age 6 or even longer. Most of the time there is no medical reason for this, but it can be frustrating for both the child and the parent.

There are two types of bedwetting, primary and secondary. Primary simply means that child has been wetting the bed consistently since early childhood, while secondary applies to children who have stopped wetting the bed for a significant amount of time and then begin again.

What causes bedwetting in children?

Depending upon whether the bedwetting is primary or secondary, causes may range from the inability to hold urine for a prolonged period to an underlying emotional or medical problem. Other reasons for bedwetting may include:

*Your child is not awakened when his/her bladder is full

*A large amount of urine is produced during evening hours

*Poor toilet habits during daytime hours, such as "holding it" or putting it off

Medical conditions that may be to blame for secondary bedwetting include:

*Diabetes, due to the body's increased urine output in order to throw off sugar

*Injury or disease of the nervous system or other neurological problems

*Emotional problems like excessive stress in the home life or a major change in life that may include moving to a new area, starting school or a new baby in the home

*Abnormality in the structure or anatomy of the nerves, muscles and organs used during urination can lead to bedwetting.

If you feel that your child has reached the age when bedwetting should no longer be a problem and you feel there is no medical reason for it, there are some things you can do to help your child stay dry at night.

First of all, limit the amount of fluids your child takes in during the evening hours. It is recommended that children have only 20% of their daily fluid intake after 5 p.m. Also, you may want to limit foods and beverages that contain caffeine, as caffeine often increases the need to urinate.

Have your child urinate right before bedtime, then try again immediately before going to sleep. Many children go to bed and are awake for 20 to 30 minutes while reading a book or being read to. Have your child try to go twice before going to sleep for the night.

Try to help you child stop holding the urge, and encourage him/her to go every two hours. Once your child stops experiencing the feeling of urgency during daytime hours, it may help them stop wetting the bed at night.

Never make fun of your child or punish them for bedwetting; this is not something a child wants to do. Help them in any way possible, and always see a doctor if you suspect a medical condition may be causing the problem.

This article was written by Tim Manasterski, a staff member.

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