Nocturnal enuresis, also called bedwetting, is involuntary urination while asleep after the age at which bladder control usually begins. Bedwetting in children and adults can result in emotional stress. Complications can include urinary tract infections.
|Other names||Nighttime urinary incontinence, sleepwetting, bedwetting|
|Urine mark on bedding caused by a nocturnal enuresis episode.|
|Specialty||Pediatrics, Psychology, Urology|
Most bedwetting is a developmental delay—not an emotional problem or physical illness. Only a small percentage (5 to 10%) of bedwetting cases have a specific medical cause. Bedwetting is commonly associated with a family history of the condition. Nocturnal enuresis is considered primary when a child has not yet had a prolonged period of being dry. Secondary nocturnal enuresis is when a child or adult begins wetting again after having stayed dry.
Treatments range from behavioral therapy, such as bedwetting alarms, to medication, such as hormone replacement, and even surgery such as urethral dilatation. Since most bedwetting is simply a developmental delay, most treatment plans aim to protect or improve self-esteem. Treatment guidelines recommend that the physician counsel the parents, warning about psychological consequences caused by pressure, shaming, or punishment for a condition children cannot control.