There is one main symptom that lets you know that bed wetting has become a problem. It is when “involuntary urination” during a child’s sleeping hours takes place at least twice in the run of a month and sometimes more. Bed wetting is not named as such until a child is five or six years old. Those younger are not considered to be bed wetters as bed wetting is very common among those who are two, three and four years of age.
When it comes to signs and tests, a doctor will perform a thorough physical exam on a bed wetting child to determine if the problem has a physical connection. Often a urine test (or urinalysis) will be done to determine if the bed wetting is a result of the onset of diabetes, constipation, a urinary tract infection or other related bladder problems. Often bladder problems including infections are accompanies by other symptoms such as a burning sensation upon voiding, pain in the abdominal area, headaches and sometimes pain in the lower back. In some cases a doctor may recommend x-rays be done of the bladder and kidneys to see if there might be an obstruction that is causing problems. Sometimes these medical problems are accompanied by pain and sometimes they are not.
Bed wetting is defined as “recurrent, uncontrolled urination that occurs during sleep.” While both males and females can experience it, this problem is more likely to affect boys. Recent studies have shown that on average five to seven million children who are six years and older wet their beds at night but in fifteen percent of cases on an annual basis, it goes away without any type of treatment. It is estimated that twenty-six percent of four year olds wet their beds on a regular basis while that number drops to seven percent for five year olds. An estimated three percent of ten year olds wet their beds while among teenagers it is one point five percent at age fourteen and one percent at the age of eighteen. The risk of suffering from bed wetting increases for those who had a family member who also wet their bed (such as a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle) as well as those who suffer from juvenile diabetes or who have hade a succession or bladder infections in the past.
For parents the most widespread response to a bed wetting child is to punish him or her or to ignore the problem and hop it goes away. Neither one of these approaches is helpful or healthy for the parent or the bed wetting child. Studies have shown that taking the initiative and attempting to solve the problem will make it possible for the majority of children to kick the problem in eight to twelve weeks. By doing nothing, eighty-five percent of children who wet the bed in any given year will still be doing it the following year until help is sought. It is important to first determine whether your child is suffering from primary or secondary enuresis and then work from there. Your pediatrician should have plenty of information and advice to provide to you regarding help for your child.