Bed Wetting | Bed Wetting Causes | Cause for Bed Wetting

Bed wetting causes

Bed wetting can be a symptom of an underlying disease; a large majority of children who wet the bed have no underlying disease that explains their bed wetting.

In fact, a true organic cause is identified in only about 1% of children who wet the bed.

Bed wetting is usually simply due to a delay in the maturation of the part of the nervous system that controls bladder function. It sometimes may be due to either psychological problems or medical disorders, such as a urinary tract infection, urinary tract abnormalities, or diabetes (diabetes mellitus or diabetes insipidus).

There is no single cause for bed wetting but researchers have discovered some genetic links, suggesting heredity may play a role. A family history of nocturnal enuresis is found in most children with the condition.

Heredity as a causative factor of primary nocturnal enuresis has been confirmed by the identification of a gene marker associated with the disorder. Bed wetting is not a behavioral problem and it is not related to how a child sleeps.

Many parents have the perception that their children are very 'deep' sleepers and this is what has caused the bed wetting. However, studies have shown no difference in the sleep patterns of enuresis and normal children. There is more evidence suggesting that enuresis is the result of a developmental delay in the normal process of achieving nighttime control.

The normal process involves the release of a hormone that prompts the kidneys to slow down production of urine during nighttime sleep. This hormone, called vasopressin, is not secreted in many children who have a problem at night usually.

There are 2 types of bed wetting: primary and secondary. Children over age 5 or 6 are said to have primary nocturnal enuresis if they are unable to maintain nighttime bladder control for more than 6 months in a row.

Bed wetting that develops after a child has been dry for a period of time (secondary nocturnal enuresis) may be caused by a medical condition, such as diabetes, or emotional stress. If a child's bed wetting is caused by a medical condition, treatment for the condition may be needed.

Primary bed wetting causes: In general, primary bed wetting probably indicates immaturity of the nervous system. A bed wetting child does not recognize the sensation of the full bladder during sleep and thus does not awaken during sleep to urinate into the toilet.

The cause is likely due to one or a combination of the following:

  1. Maturational delay - delayed functional maturation of the central nervous system, which reduces the child's ability to inhibit bladder emptying at night. The child's bladder will fill, but the sensory output resulting from the stretching of the bladder is not perceived or is not sent to the brain and, thus, central cortical control over the urinary sphincter contraction does not occur. Failure of the arousal mechanism may also contribute to the inability to inhibit micturition.

  2. Genetic (hereditary) factors - A family history of nocturnal enuresis is found in most children with the condition. If both parents wet the bed when they were younger, three out of four of their children will have bed wetting problems.

  3. Hormonal problems - A hormone called antidiuretic hormone, or ADH, causes a person's body to produce less urine at night. But some people's bodies don't make enough ADH, which means their bodies may produce too much urine while they're sleeping. Under normal circumstances, the body's level of a hormone that decreases the production of urine by the kidneys (antidiuretic hormone) rises during sleep, causing the bladder to fill more slowly. In some children who wet the bed, this nighttime rise in antidiuretic hormone does not happen as expected. Therefore, the amount of urine made remains the same as during waking hours, so the bladder continues to fill as much as it would during the daytime.

  4. Behavior and Psychological Factors - Psychological factors are an unlikely cause of primary enuresis in children. However, things such as divorce, the death of a friend or family member, a move to a new town and adapting to a new school and social environment, or family tension can all feel overwhelming. It's not uncommon for people to feel stressed out during their teenage years, and stress can disturb sleep patterns.


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