Bed Wetting Explained
Bed wetting, or nocturnal enuresis as it is medically described, is the involuntary urination during sleep after a child has reached the normal age of bladder control. Nocturnal enuresis is broken down into two separate categories. The first is primary nocturnal enuresis or PNE. This is characterized by a child who has yet to have a prolonged period of being dry. The other is secondary nocturnal enuresis of SNE. This is characterized by a child or adult who begins wetting again after previously staying dry for a prolonged period.
Although bed wetting can be a symptom of an underlying disease,most children who wet the bed have no underlying condition that explains their bed wetting. Only about 1% of children who routinely wet the bed have a known condition causing it.This does not mean the child has the ability to control it, or is being lazy or stubborn. It is more than likely a developmental issue. Family history is also a common factor in bed wetting children. Usually these children will stop wetting on their own around the same age their parent did.
Primary (PNE) is normally caused by one or a combination of the following factors. A child can’t hold their urine for an entire night. Fullness of the bladder does not wake the child up. The production of urine is too great at night. The child does not possess good toilet habits during the day. Many children will regularly ignore the need to urinate. They will wait until the very last minute. Parents can recognize this by leg crossing, holding of the groin, squatting, face straining, and squirming.
Secondary (SNE) bed wetting is more likely to be caused by an underlying medical problem than PNE. The child with secondary bed wetting is much more likely to have other symptoms, such as daytime wetting. Some medical conditions that could be a factor with SNE are urinary tract infections, diabetes, structural or anatomical abnormalities, and neurological problems. Emotional problems can also be a factor with SNE. Parents in conflict, major changes like moving, the birth of a sibling, or starting a new school can all contribute to a stressful home life which may cause bed wetting. Physical or sexual abuse can also cause a child to begin bed wetting.