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Bedwetting: Answers to Parents’ 6 Top Questions

Common Questions on Bedwetting
WebMD Feature

Parents share secrets and strategies with each other about how to deal with fussy eaters, colicky infants, and tantrum throwers. But bedwetters?

The problem of bedwetting is still shrouded in embarrassment, despite the fact that it's very common. As a matter of fact, one in five 5-year-olds is a bedwetter, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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To help you understand why, here are answers to some of parents' most frequently asked questions about bedwetting.

Q: Why is my child bedwetting?

What you need to know before answering this is: Has your child consistently wet -- that is, never had dry nights -- or has your child been dry, and the bedwetting is a recent problem?

Those are two very different situations. Most of the time, the child was never dry, a problem known as primary bedwetting (or by the medical term, primary enuresis).

A much smaller number of children have what is called “secondary” bedwetting or enuresis. In this case, the child was dry for a long time, maybe a year, and then becomes a bedwetter. That is more unusual, and there is more likely to be a medical cause or a trigger, such as psychological stress or trauma. But that's true in less than 10% of cases.

Most of the time, a child has primary bedwetting, and after a thorough physical examination and examination of the urine, no medical reason is found. In that case, the cause is rarely figured out. But one in five kids at age 5 has this. How abnormal can that be?

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