Bedwetting, also known as nighttime incontinence, is common in children between the ages of 6 or 7 where overnight bladder control is not always established. Bedwetting is a normal part of a child‘s growth and development, however, if bedwetting occurs past the age of 7, the child may need medical attention in order to determine the cause of bedwetting and create an effective treatment plan.
The exact cause of bedwetting is often unknown, but research has associated bedwetting with some of the following factors:
- Small bladder
- Inability to recognize a full bladder
- Sleep apnea
- Hormonal imbalance
- Urinary tract infection
- Chronic constipation
- A neurological or urological defect
To determine the cause of a child‘s bedwetting, the doctor will perform a full physical exam. In many cases, a urine test may also be done to check for an infection, abnormality or diabetes. The doctor will need to determine if the child‘s fluid intake habits have recently changed, or if they are undergoing any stressful events, such as starting school.
Most cases of bedwetting are outgrown by a certain point, so patience is required from both the parent and the child. Moisture alarms can be used to awaken a child when they begin to urinate, allowing them to stop urinating until they have reached a toilet. Various medications are available to calm a child‘s bladder and reduce the overnight production of urine, but there is no guarantee that the medication will address the bedwetting. Based on the child‘s individual condition, the doctor will recommend an effective treatment plan.