Conditions and diseases
Symptoms and causes
What is it?
Bed-wetting is urinating in bed during the night in children over the age of 5. It is the result of too much urine production at night, insufficient bladder capacity and a reduced stimulus to wake up with a full bladder.
Sporadic bed-wetting is common (5-10% at the age of 7), with an annual cure probability of 15%. Of bed-wetters, 7% still experience this issue during puberty. Bed-wetting is often a family problem.
Considering that bed-wetting weighs on a child from a psychological point of view, the doctor will propose treatment from the age of 6-7 years old.
Diagnosis and treatment
How is the diagnosis determined?
- Urine analysis
- Pee calendar: the doctor will ask you to keep a pee calendar. This calendar indicates the volume of the bladder, the urine production at night and the quantity of liquids drunk at which time of day.
- In order to exclude structural body abnormalities, uroflowmetry (measurement of the urethra) and an ultrasound scan of the abdomen and kidneys are usually performed.
The doctor will first recommend behavioural changes: adapting eating and drinking habits, avoiding drinks that stimulate the bladder such as coke, (sometimes) setting up a wake-up system late at night and rewarding the child when she stays dry. Continuous and sustained motivation of the child by her parents is and remains essential for bed-wetting.
In addition, in some cases bed-wetting is treated with a bed-wetting alarm: as soon as the nappy becomes minimally wet, an alarm goes off. By getting used to it, the child learns to get up before urinating: bed-wetting is thus avoided.
In some cases, bed-wetting is additionally treated with medication.
- Desmopressin when urine production at night is too high
- Anticholinergics in case of a small bladder capacity
Treatment centres and specialisations
Latest publication date: 25/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Ameye Filip, Dr Degraeuwe Jelle