Bedwetting is a developmental phase effecting around one million children in the UK. Although there are various causes of bedwetting, it’s important to remember your child will often grow out of it. Read up on some of the most common causes of bedwetting, to help you understand the condition and support your child.

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Causes of bedwetting

Bedwetting (also known as enuresis) affects around one million children and young adults in the UK. Below we’ve identified some of the most common causes to help you gain a better understanding so you can offer your child the best kind of support with bedwetting.

Lack of hormones affecting urine production

The human body creates an antidiuretic hormone to slow down the production of urine in the kidneys at night. This hormone sends a signal to the pituitary gland to stop us wetting the bed while we’re asleep, so a deficiency in this particular hormone will lead to bedwetting. This often sorts itself out as the child develops.

The bladder isn’t signalling it is full

When we sleep, the bladder will send a signal to the brain indicating it is full This signal allows us to “hold-on” and to wake up to go to the toilet. For some children, this connection isn’t fully formed until they are older. If the brain doesn’t respond to the signal from the bladder, bedwetting occurs.

Illnesses and injury causing enuresis

Bedwetting in children or teenagers can sometimes be caused by stress or infection. In rarer cases, injury can mean a child needs plenty of sleep to recover. Bedwetting after a head injury can occur while your body is in recovery mode as your bladder may not send the signal to your brain in time.

Emotional stress

Emotional stress can be a trigger for children to wet the bed, often when they have been dry for over six months. When older children and teenagers are experiencing changes, this can increase their emotional stress. At these times, it’s important to talk to them sensitively to determine what might be causing them to worry.

Can diabetes cause bedwetting?

In rare instances, bedwetting can be one of the earliest signs of diabetes in children and young adults. If you are concerned about the connection between diabetes and bedwetting, contact your doctor immediately to seek advice. 

Urine infections

In some cases, bedwetting can be caused by a urine infection. The symptoms will usually include painful or more frequent weeing. If you think your child may have a urine infection, contact your doctor immediately.

Constipation putting pressure on the bladder

Sometimes constipation and bedwetting can be directly related. A constipated bowel will lean on the bladder, causing it to empty before it’s full. If you think your child could be bedwetting due to constipation, contact your doctor for advice.

Small bladder capacity

For some children, a smaller than average bladder capacity can result in frequent toilet trips during the day, as well as bedwetting problems at night. The best way to help increase bladder capacity is by drinking plenty of fluids through the day. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends children aged between 4 and 8 years old drink 6- 8 glasses of water a day.

How to help your child with bedwetting

Taking time to understand the common causes of nocturnal enuresis will help you to manage bedwetting and effectively support your child. Remember, bedwetting is experienced by 1 in 4 children aged 5 and 1 in 20 at age 10, so it helps to remind your child they aren’t alone.

To help your child learn to manage their bedwetting, try DryNites® Pyjama Pants. They fit and feel like real underwear but offer unbeatable night-time protection to help them enjoy a good night’s sleep, dry and worry-free. And for extra protection at night, try DryNites® Bed Mats.