Bedwetting overview

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Bedwetting Microchapters


Patient Information



Historical Perspective




Differentiating Bedwetting from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings

X Ray


Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy


Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

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Editor(s)-in-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S.,M.D. [1] Phone:617-632-7753; Steven C. Campbell, M.D., Ph.D., [2] Phone:216-444-5595 Professor of Surgery, Residency Program Director, Section of Urologic Oncology, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic.


Bedwetting is involuntary urination while asleep after the age at which bladder control would normally be anticipated.

Epidemiology and Demographics

Bedwetting is the most common childhood urologic complaint [1] and one of the most common pediatric-health issues.[2]Most bedwetting, however, is just a developmental delay—not an emotional problem or physical illness. Only a small percentage (5% to 10%) of bedwetting cases are caused by specific medical situations.[3] Bedwetting is frequently associated with a family history of the condition.[4] 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]


History and Symptoms

The main symptom is involuntary urination, usually at night, that occurs at least twice per month.

Laboratory Findings

A urinalysis will be done to rule out infection or diabetes.

X Ray

X-rays of the kidneys and bladders and other studies are not needed unless there is reason to suspect some other problems.


Medical Therapy

Treatments range from behavioral-based options such as bedwetting alarms, to medication such as hormone replacement, and even surgery such as urethral enlargement. Since most bedwetting is simply a developmental delay, most treatment plans aim to protect or improve self-esteem.[3] Bedwetting children and adults can suffer emotional stress or psychological injury if they feel shamed by the condition. Treatment guidelines recommend that the physician counsel the parents, warning about psychological damage caused by pressure, shaming, or punishment for a condition children cannot control.[3]

Primary Prevention

Getting plenty of sleep and going to the bathroom at regular times during the day and night can help prevent some aspects of bedwetting.


  1. Reynoso Paredes, MD, Potenciano. "Case Based Pediatrics For Medical Students and Residents". Department of Pediatrics, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  2. "Nocturnal Enuresis". UCLA Urology. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Johnson, Mary. "Nocturnal Enuresis". Archived from the original on 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  4. "Bedwetting". The Royal Childrens Hospital Melbourne. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  5. "Pediatrics". Retrieved 2008-02-02. Text "Paediatrics " ignored (help); Text " Pediatric Education " ignored (help); Text " Paediatric Education" ignored (help)

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