Bedwetting or Nocturnal Enuresis (NE) [nocturnal meaning night; and enuresis meaning involuntary urination] is a common medical condition that can affect up to 19% of school-aged children. If left untreated, this condition may interfere with social activities, relationships and performance at school. A child’s self-esteem may also suffer. Fortunately most of these children will outgrow bedwetting, but for some the condition might persist into adulthood.
Bedwetting can be treated, and the type of treatment is based on the assessment of the underlying cause of a child’s bedwetting.
Bedwetting can be classified into 2 types:
- Monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis (most common) is when bedwetting occurs without any other urinary symptoms.
- Non-monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis is bedwetting in addition to other urinary symptoms, such as daytime wetting, urinating frequently during the day, and often feeling an urgent need to urinate.
In addition, the term primary nocturnal enuresis is used to describe bedwetting in a child who has wet the bed since birth without a period of complete dryness for more than six months, whereas secondary nocturnal enuresis refers to bedwetting in a child who had been dry previously for at least six months but has recommenced wetting the bed. Secondary nocturnal enuresis is more likely to be associated with psychological factors or a problem that’s developed with the child’s urinary system.
So, if your child is 6 years of age or older, is wetting the bed and is unhappy and uncomfortable about it, you should consider speaking to your doctor about it. To help start a conversation with your doctor about your child’s bedwetting, it may be helpful to first download and use the My Dryness Tracker App. This App has been developed for carers planning to see a doctor about a child who is wetting the bed or for those caring for a child who is undergoing treatment for bedwetting.
The App includes:
- Bedwetting checklist
- Day-time and night-time voiding diaries
- Treatment progress trackers
- Enuresis alarm ordering facility
- Treatment progress reports
Perth GP Dr Joe Kosterich said “the App is a useful way for doctors to gain insights into a child’s bedwetting patterns.”
“This App facilitates easy self-reporting where patterns may emerge that were previously difficult to observe. Such detailed information can assist GPs to determine the best course of treatment.” Dr Kosterich said.
Kindly written and reviewed by Dr Allison Johns BSc (Hons) MBBS, Doctor at King Edward Memorial Hospital and Editorial Advisory Board Member of Virtual Medical Centre.
For more information about bed wetting including lifestyle advice, how the urinary system works and much more, see Bed Wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis).
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