Bed-Wetting - Cause
Almost all children who
wet the bed do not do so intentionally. Most likely,
several factors are involved when a child older than age 5 continues to
wet the bed. Possible causes of
primary nocturnal enuresis include:
- Delayed development. Children with a
less mature nervous system may not be as able to sense when the bladder is
- Small bladder capacity. Having a
smaller-than-normal bladder may make some children more prone to wet the
- Too little antidiuretic hormone (ADH). Levels of
antidiuretic hormone (ADH), a brain chemical that
signals the kidneys to release less water, normally rise at night. Some
children who wet their beds may not produce more ADH at night.
- Sound sleeping. Many parents note that their child
who wets the bed is a deep sleeper. These children usually wet the bed less
often as their sleep patterns mature.
- Psychological and social factors. Bed-wetting does
not appear to be a direct result of emotional problems. In fact, bed-wetting
may be the cause of some emotional disturbances for children. But children
living in stressful home situations or in institutions may be more likely to
wet the bed.
Some of these factors may be inherited. A child is at
increased risk for wetting the bed if one or both parents has a history of
bed-wetting as a child.
Most cases of primary nocturnal enuresis
are not caused by any medical condition. But
secondary nocturnal enuresis, which is bed-wetting
that occurs after a period of staying dry, is more likely to be related to a
medical condition. Examples of physical causes include a kidney or bladder
infection (urinary tract infection) or birth defects that affect
the urinary tract . Emotional
stress, such as may result from the birth of a brother
or sister, can also be a factor in triggering bed-wetting.