Causes of Bedwetting

By: Sharon Bell

Does your child always wet the bed every night? Is there any way to prevent this from happening?

Nocturnal enuresis is the medical term for bed-wetting. This is common in young children who have yet to gain control of their bladder.

Most bedwetters are boys and the condition may even persist into adulthood. Parents often become concerned about bedwetting when they believe that their son or daughter is "old" enough to control the problem. But the fact is, there is no consensus among doctors as to when enuresis should end.

"We know that bedwetting is a problem in all societies and has been recorded down through history. Although figures differ somewhat between cultures and among various groups within a culture, approximately 15 percent of all five-year-olds and five percent of all ten-year-olds still wet their beds. Even by adolescence, one to two percent of children are not consistently dry. About 60 percent of all emuretic children are boys," according to Dr. Richard Ferber, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, Boston Children's Hospital, in Solve Your Child Sleep Problems.

What causes bedwetting? No one knows for sure. At first it was thought that the problem was psychological and brought about by stress or the child's separation from the mother.

Today, we know that most bedwetters have little or no psychological problems that could contribute to the condition. But it is a fact that the act itself can cause emotional problems, especially in children who might consider themselves "abnormal" because of this.

"Even when bedwetting is not psychological in origin, it can cause emotional problems. The situation is undeniably embarrassing and uncomfortable. It may prevent a child from enjoying such peer activities as a pajama party or cause him or her to be the subject of ridicule from friends," added Drs. Donald S. Fernfeld and Philip R. Muskin in The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Complete Home Medical Guide.

In infants, bedwetting may be caused by an immature system which controls urination. During infancy, your child does not recognize the signs of a full bladder nor does he or she perceive the "need" to urinate. Urination is simply the result of a reflex action when the bladder is full. But as the child grows older (often between the ages of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2) he or she becomes aware of the sensation of urination although it may take a while before he or she learns to control it.

"By the age of three or perhaps four, your child will be able to urinate at will, even when her bladder is only partially full. Also, she will soon be capable of interrupting her urinary stream after it has started. When this occurs you can expect your child to have urinary control at night too, or at least that her nervous system has developed sufficiently for her to be able to be dry all day and night. If she continues to wet despite this degree of maturation, other causes are probably responsible," Ferber said.

What are the other causes of bedwetting? Find out in the second part of this series. To enhance your memory and support healthy brain function, take Neurovar. For more information on this powerful supplement, go to

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