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Bedwetting Q&A

Alexandra Rogers, MD


What is the medical terminology for bedwetting?

Bedwetting is also known as nocturnal enuresis or leakage of urine at night.


What causes bedwetting?

Although bedwetting may be related to a number of factors, it is usually due to nighttime production of urine that exceeds bladder capacity. Children are often unable to sense a full bladder and the mismatch between the amount of fluid and the amount of space in the bladder leads to bedwetting.


Girl_Sleeping_LR.jpgWhat percentage of patients have a problem with waking up from sleep?

About one-third of patients do not wake up when they "have to go" and it results in bedwetting.


What can be done to decrease nighttime fluid production?

Two things that may help reduce the likelihood of bedwetting are eliminating caffeine (a substance that can increase output) and restricting fluids at nighttime.


What is the most effective treatment for bedwetting?

Behavioral modification is often favored over medication. Conditioning therapy such as using a bell or buzzer alarm to wake the sleeping child at set times can provide excellent results, especially with very motivated parents and child.


How effective is a buzzer alarm alone?

A bedwetting alarm alone can cure two-thirds of bedwetting patients.


At what age is bedwetting considered a problem?

After age five or when a child has entered grade school, bedwetting should be actively evaluated and treated.


What does an evaluation entail?

A detailed patient history, physical examination and urinalysis with urine culture are performed. Occasionally, a non-invasive ultrasound examination might be included.


What percentage of children suffer from bedwetting at age 5?

Fifteen percent.


What percentage of children recover from bedwetting?

Ninety-nine percent of children recover by the age of fifteen.


Why do some children relapse with bedwetting?

If a child has been symptom free for at least six-months and bedwetting returns, fifty percent of the time it is related to psychological factors. Most often an anxiety disorder is involved.


Are children with ADHD more likely to suffer from bedwetting?

Fifteen percent of children with ADHD suffer from nocturnal enuresis. Both problems are believed to involve the same brain stem area abnormality. The ADHD needs to be treated along with the use of a buzzer alarm to achieve dryness.

Dr. Alexandra Rogers specializes in Urology, including pediatric patients. Dr. Rogers attended Wake Forest University Medical School and completed her urology residency at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Rogers has recently completed a female urology fellowship at the Tower Urology Institute for Continence at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.


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