Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)

Bedwetting affects about half a million children and teenagers in the UK.  Living with bedwetting can have a massive effect on a child’s social and emotional well-being.  These children often have lower self-esteem and may become socially isolated.  Their performance at school may also be affected.  It is an issue that impacts on whole family.  However, it is often a hidden problem which is difficult to talk about.


What is bedwetting?

Bedwetting or clinically known as nocturnal enuresis is defined as wetting during sleep in a child aged 5years +


What causes bedwetting?

There are 3 main reasons why a child may wet the bed.

  1.  Failure to waken to bladder signals
  2.  Producing too much urine at night
  3.  Overactive bladder

Bedwetting can be caused by one or more of the above, all of which are treatable.  It is not as clear as that though.  There may be underlying reasons which may contribute to bedwetting.  These can be highlighted through a comprehensive holistic assessment by a trained specialist practitioner.

Nocturnal enuresis may also run in families.  If one parent wet the bed their child has a 40% chance of also doing this.  It is important that it is no one’s fault.


Why treat Bedwetting?

Traditionally the treatment for bedwetting was to wait as the child may grow out of it.  More recently it has been recognised that bedwetting is more complex.  Early assessment will help to identify any underlying issues.  It also gives the child the best chance of getting dry sooner therefore helping to reduce the psychosocial impact on the child.

A large British cohort study (Butler & Heron, 2008) identified that children with severe bedwetting i.e. every night at age 4.5 – 5 years old are likely to persist into adolescence if left untreated.

The impact of bedwetting can affect the quality of life and psychosocial well-being of a child.  Often opportunities such as school trips, sleepovers, sporting events and family holidays are restricted.  A study by Kilcoglu et al (2014) revealed the impact of bedwetting extended to the family of a child.  This also includes the financial impact.