Bedwetting - What Causes a Child to Wet the Bed?

Apr 23, 2013, 13:14 ET from DryNites

LONDON, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

If your child is having 'little accidents' in the middle of the night you may be relieved to know this is perfectly normal. Some children will wet the bed at night even after they are potty trained and remain dry throughout the day. Bedwetting can be an upsetting experience for both parents and children alike. A child's distress, wet sheets and interrupted sleep can make a miserable night for all the family. It's essential though for a parent not to let a child know that they are frustrated and instead reassure and support them through their bedwetting phase.

Bedwetting is actually more common than most people think with 1 in 5 of all five year-olds wetting the bed on a regular basis. What's more most one in ten four to 15-year olds will wet the bed at some stage in their childhood.

Despite being as widespread as eczema or asthma, affecting nearly 600,000 children across the UK, bedwetting is still one of those subjects which parents feel uncomfortable discussing, for fear of being judged or their child being ridiculed. Communicating with a child and gaining an understanding of the causes of bedwetting will help parents minimise the stress caused.

What is bedwetting?

Bedwetting is defined as involuntary wetting during sleep that is without any physical defect of the bladder or urinary system.

The different types of bedwetting:

Primary bedwetting:

The majority of children experience primary bedwetting. These children have never had a lengthy period of staying dry throughout the night (beyond the age of 5 years).

Secondary bedwetting:

Some children have what is called secondary bedwetting when they start to wet the bed having been dry for at least six months. The only difference between the two is that secondary bedwetting is more likely to be triggered by a stressful event - such as starting a new school, or the addition of a new baby in the family. Sometimes the bedwetting episodes can continue, despite the stress being resolved.

What are the causes of bedwetting?

There are a number of physical factors which may be significant:

  • Children who wet the bed have difficulty recognising the sensation of a full bladder at night, so they don't wake up or hold on to the sensation of a full bladder.
  • Some children do not yet produce enough of the natural body hormone called vasopressin at night. Vasopressin works by putting the kidneys to sleep so that less urine is produced throughout the night.

What can parents do?

It is important for parents to reassure a child that there are many other children who wet the bed - it is not their fault. Communicating with a child and exploring how they feel will help provide them with reassurance. Children often feel embarrassed and a sense of guilt about wetting the bed and this can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress. It is up to the parent to help limit these feelings.

Using absorbent sleepwear such as DryNites® is one way to help a child through bedwetting. Although DryNites® don't offer a cure, they can help manage bedwetting, keeping clothing and sheets dry so a child can sleep with confidence.

DryNites® Pyjama Pants are designed to be worn discreetly under nightwear, they look and feel like real underwear and have a thin absorbent pad that draws wetness away from the skin.

The DryNites® website, offers parents a platform to learn more about bedwetting and advice on getting through this period. It outlines the reasons why bedwetting happens and offers tips on how to cope with it, as well as offering a free sample of DryNites® to help parents along the way.

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