While bedwetting can be miserably embarrassing for a child at a sleepover, it’s much more common than many people realize. At age 5, up to one in five children is still wetting the bed occasionally. By age 7, this has decreased, but bedwetting still occurs in about one child in ten. 1 to 3% of children are still experiencing some bedwetting by their late teens. Boys are 2 to 3 times as likely as girls to experience bedwetting.
While bedwetting can be treated, the most important aspect of it is the way in which it is managed from an emotional point of view. It is very important that parents recognize and accept that this is not something their child can control. Children should never be punished or ridiculed for wetting the bed.
Bedwetting can be caused by a variety of things, including genetics, diabetes, sleep apnea, a urinary tract infection, a neurologic disease, medications, constipation or stress.
Bedwetting can be treated by a primary care provider or a pediatrician. A detailed physical history will usually be taken, and lab tests will be performed. Treatment may include medications. Practical solutions may also help, including limited drinking before bedtime, waking the child up during the night to go to the bathroom and using an alarm that goes off when the child wets the bed.
Fortunately, most children grow out of wetting the bed. However, a healthcare provider should be consulted under the following circumstances:
After age 6 or 7, if bedwetting is still occurring
If your child is experiencing burning while urinating
If your child has blood in the urine
If your child suddenly begins bedwetting after being dry for six months or more
When dealing with bedwetting, the best approach that parents can take is to look for a solution (in partnership with their child’s healthcare provider, if necessary), without increasing their child’s stress over the condition.