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Enuresis

What is it?

  • Enuresis (en-yer-e-sis) is also called bedwetting. It is passing urine without control after a certain age. It happens to almost half (40%) of 3-year-old children. Your child may not feel a need to pass urine because his nerves and muscles are still growing. Or your child may not be able to control urination. Children sometimes need extra months or years to get total bladder (organ that holds urine) control. Bedwetting is more common in boys.
  • Your child may have enuresis during the day, at night, or at both times. Sometimes your child may be dry for 3 to 6 months after toilet training. Then he may start to have enuresis. This may happen because your child may still not know when his bladder is full and wake up at night to use the toilet. By 5 years most children usually have good bladder control. With time, most children are able to get daytime and nighttime bladder control.

Causes:

Bedwetting may run in families. Other causes may be diabetes, epilepsy, or kidney problems. An infection in the urine or even constipation may cause enuresis. Or the organs in the urine system may not be normal. Your child may feel stress or have an emotional reason why he is having enuresis. Examples of this may be a new baby in your home or a family death. Chocolate, caffeine, aspartame (sugarless sweetener) or dairy products may also irritate the bladder and help cause enuresis.

Signs and Symptoms:

Your child may pass urine without control either at night, during the day, or both.

Care:

Your child's urine may be tested to look for an infection. Sometimes an enuresis alarm or medicine may be used to treat the problem. Your child should not be blamed or punished for bedwetting. Doing this may be harmful to your child. Nighttime bedwetting often goes away without special care. Try limiting fluids after your evening meal and taking him to the bathroom before going to bed. A plastic or rubber cover for your child mattress may also help until he gets control of his bladder.

Support:

  • Accepting that your child has a bed-wetting problem is hard. You and those close to you may feel angry, sad, or frightened. These feelings are normal. Talk to your caregivers, family, or friends about your feelings. Let them help you. Encourage those close to you to talk to your caregiver about how things are at home. Your caregiver can help your family better understand how to support your child.
  • You may also want to join a support group. This is a group of people who also have children with the same problem. Ask your caregiver for the names and numbers of support groups in your town. Or, you can contact the following national organization for more information.
  • National Kidney Foundation
    30 East 33rd Street
    New York, NY 10016
    Phone: 1-212-889-2210
    Phone: 1-800-622-9010
    Web Address: http://www.kidney.org
  • Sexual Function Health Council
    American Foundation for Urologic Disease
    Sexual Function Health Council
    1128 North Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD 21201
    Phone: 1-410-468-1800
    Phone: 1-800-433-4215
    Web Address: http://www.impotence.org/

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat your child.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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