Bed-wetting is a subject that you usually avoid discussing with anyone because you may be ashamed to admit that your child still cannot control his bladder. However, bed-wetting in children, and even teenagers, is a common occurrence.

Wetting is the most common childhood urologic complaint and one of the most common pediatric-health issues. Most bedwetting, however, is just a developmental delayŚnot an emotional problem or physical illness. Only a small percentage (5% to 10%) of bedwetting cases are caused by specific medical situations. Bedwetting is frequently associated with a family history of the condition.

Most girls can stay dry by age six and most boys stay dry by age seven. By ten years old, 95% of children are dry at night. Studies place adult bedwetting rates at between 0.5% to 2.3%.[5] Bed-wetting is also referred to as sleep-wetting and its scientific name is 'nocturnal enuresis'. It is a term given to the uncontrolled passing of urine while a person is asleep. It affects people of all ages, but is usually seen in young children, until the age of six. Sixty percent of all bed-wetters are males and ninety percent of them wet the bed almost every night.

What are the causes of bed-wetting?

Bed-wetting can occur due to a number of reasons.

Heredity: In most cases, bed-wetting is an inherited trait. If one or both parents wet the bed as children, the chances of their child also becoming a bed-wetter increase by around fifty percent. However, in such cases, the child usually stops at the same age that the parent did. Some scientists have also put forward a theory that bed-wetting is associated with certain genes.

Physical causes: A child with a smaller bladder than normal is more likely to suffer from bed-wetting. There could also be a problem with the valve that controls the flow of urine from the bladder. Children who are constipated might suffer from bed-wetting due to the pressure put on the bladder by a full bowel. A urinary tract infection also increases the chances of bed-wetting.

Neurological causes: In some children, the brain takes longer to develop voluntary control over certain bodily functions. Thus, a child may wet the bed because his body has simply not yet learnt to control the bladder. External stress: Children who are stressed are believed to be more likely to suffer from bed-wetting. Many children, who have previously been normal, suddenly start wetting the bed at night. This could be in response to certain stressful events such as moving to a new home, beginning school, conflict between parents, the arrival of a new child, being abused, etc. However, there is not sufficient scientific evidence to support this theory.

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