The causes of bedwetting

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To understand the problem of bedwetting among children, it is necessary to consider the different factors which can cause nocturnal enuresis.

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Bedwetting among children is involuntary. It is not about laziness nor spitefulness. There are not necessarily any emotional problems, learning difficulties or behavioural problems involved. We analyse below some possible causes of the problem, which are frequently associated with bedwetting.

Physiological factors

Small bladder capacity

When we talk about a 'small bladder', we are not really referring to the size of the bladder, but rather it's capacity to empty itself prematurely without the child being able to control this action during their sleep. An overactive bladder can also strike during the day: the child will have to make frequent toilet trips or suffer little leaks which may be visible in their pants. It is not advisable for the child to 'hold on'. They should make as many toilet trips as necessary.

Lack of hormones

When we sleep, our body produces an antidiuretic hormone which slows down urine production and allows us to avoid having to go to the toilet during the night. Certain children do not have enough of this hormone in their body, which explains the excess urine in the bed during sleep.

Sleeping too deeply

It is not the deepness of sleep which poses a problem to the bedwetting child, but the challenge of waking up easily if they need to use the toilet. It is not advisable to wake up a child during the night because they need their sleep for their growth, emotional and psychomotor development.

Psychological factors

Certain events within the family (separation, birth...) or otherwise (moving home, changing school, problems at school...) can disturb the child and this unease can manifest itself through bedwetting problems.

Family Genes

The problem can also be hereditary. Studies show that if one of the parents suffered from bedwetting in their childhood, their child has a 44% greater chance of suffering the same problem. If both parents were affected by the problem, this figure rises to 77%.


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