Generally, children stop wetting the bed after the age of three. Children who constantly wet the bed beyond that age cause their parents to become worried and concerned. However, according to medical experts, bed wetting is not an illness in itself but a symptom of an underlying disease. It is not a behavioral or mental problem, either. In medical terms, this condition is called enuresis. About 15% of children wet the bed after reaching the age of three, and more boys than girls are prone to this condition.
The exact causes of enuresis are not yet known, though there are several factors that may explain some children’s tendency to urinate involuntarily. If you are distressed over your child’s wetting the bed, it pays to know and understand the possible causes of his or her condition so that you know how to deal with it properly.
- Stress. Yes, stressful situations can trigger several unpleasant conditions, one of which is your child’s wetting the bed. Going to school for the first time, sleeping in a place other than home, and adjusting to a new home, and becoming an older brother or sister can cause your kid to wet the bed.
- Hormonal imbalance. In some cases, the body cannot produce sufficient anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), which slows down the production of urine during nighttime.
- Failure to determine a full bladder. This is a common problem for kids who are deep sleepers. What happens is that the nerves that are in charge of the bladder mature slowly, which results in your child’s inability to wake up when the bladder becomes full.
- Small bladder. Chances are your child’s bladder is too small to contain urine produced at nighttime.
- Problem with urinary system or neurological system. This is a rare cause of enuresis in children.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI). If your child has UTI, it will be hard for him to control the release of his urine. Aside from enuresis, the other symptoms of UTI include frequent urination, ache during urination, and accidents during daytime.
- Constipation. Irregular bowel movements cause urine to be retained in the body, thus leading to wet nights for your child.
- Diabetes. Your child may have type 1 diabetes if he wets the bed when he was usually dry at night. Check for other signs of diabetes such as weight loss, fatigue, release of large amounts of urine, and frequent thirst.
- Sleep apnea. Enuresis can be a symptom of sleep apnea or disruption of breathing when a child is asleep. This is because of swelling adenoids or tonsils. Besides enuresis, other signs of sleep apnea include sinus and ear infections, dizziness during daytime, sore throat, and snoring.
- Genetic factors. Enuresis often tends to run in families. So if you were prone to wetting the bed during childhood, chances are good that your child will be prone as well to this condition.
In many cases, children outgrow bed wetting on their own. But if you suspect that your child has a serious disease, it is best to consult a doctor.