Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
What is bed-wetting?
At what age do most kids stop wetting the bed?
Why do I wet the bed at night if I don't want to?
Is there help for bed-wetting?
Why is it important to talk to my parents or someone I trust about bed-wetting?
What are the chances that my bed-wetting will not go away?
Can I still go to sleep-overs?
The medical term for bed-wetting is enuresis (EN-YOU-REE-SIS). It means that you pee (urinate) while you sleep.
Here's how your body works:
It is the kidneys' job to make urine, which goes down tubes into the bladder. The bladder is like a water balloon that holds the urine. There is a muscle gate that holds the urine in. When the bladder is full it sends a message to the brain and the brain tells the gate to open. In order to be the boss of your urine at night, all the parts need to work together.
More than 5 million children in the United States continue to wet the bed past the age of six.
You are not alone. If you are older than that and are still wetting the bed, you should talk to your parents or someone you trust. Even though you may be embarrassed, please tell someone you trust.
Bed-wetting is not your fault. Kids who wet the bed don't do it on purpose. Bed-wetting happens because you don't wake up when you need to use the bathroom. It may also be happening because:
Your parents may want to take you to your doctor for a checkup to make sure your bed-wetting is not being caused by a another problem.
Sometimes kids who wet the bed also have problems with wetting and/or pooping (bowel accidents) during the day. This might mean that there is a medical problem, so it is important to be checked out by your doctor.
Below are some ways that may help you stop bed-wetting. Be sure to discuss these ideas with a family member and your doctor.
These are just some ways you can discuss with your doctor to help stop your bed-wetting. Sometimes using more than one of these treatments is the most helpful.
Some kids feel bad about themselves because they wet the bed. If you feel this way, you can talk with your mom or dad or someone you trust. Many adults also wet the bed when they were children and they know what you are going through. Don't let anyone make you feel sad, bad or embarrassed about bed-wetting. Remember, bed-wetting is a problem that lots of kids have and is not your fault. Most kids grow out of it when they get older. If you want to stop bed-wetting, talk to someone about it, so you can try to do something to help you stop wetting the bed.
Some kids take longer than others before they stop wetting the bed. You know, only 1 or 2 kids out of every 100 kids are still wetting the bed when they turn 15 years old.
Sometimes kids who never wet the bed, or who haven't wet the bed for a long time, start wetting the bed because they are worried or upset about something else. Sometimes changes happen, like getting a new sister or brother, or your parents getting a divorce, that can lead to bed-wetting. If this happens to you, you can get help to make you feel better.
It is important to talk about your worries about wetting the bed with your parents, or someone you trust, and your doctor. Your doctor can look for medical reasons for your wetting and can give you information, medicine, or suggest other ways to help you overcome this problem.
Of course you can!
Talk to your mom, dad or someone else you trust and your doctor. If you are going to camp, your parents may even want to talk privately with your camp counselor. Most camp counselors understand bed-wetting and want to help. Your doctor may be able to give you some medicine to help you with sleepovers.
Don't try to stay awake all night. Not only is this very hard to do, but kids need their sleep every night. A better idea is to stay away from drinking a lot before bedtime (ask your doctor how much you can drink at night).
There are also sleeping bags that are made of a special material (like a sponge) that can help keep your sleeping bag from getting wet. Have your child bring disposable underpants along on overnight stays to help combat wetness. You can even keep extra clothes and underwear in a plastic bag at the bottom of the bag in case of you do wet yourself and need to change your clothes.