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Sleep Disorders: Causes of Bed-Wetting

If you are concerned about your child's bed-wetting, or if other symptoms accompany the problem, inform your child's pediatrician. He or she will ask about your child's symptoms and about other factors that may contribute to bed-wetting.

There is no medical test that can pinpoint the cause of bed-wetting; however, a routine urine test (urinalysis) usually is performed to rule out urinary tract infection or kidney disease.

An ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder may be performed if a physical problem is suspected.

Children whose bed-wetting is associated with other conditions, such as a urinary tract infection, may be referred to a specialist in urology (urologist) for further evaluation.

Immaturity of a child's bladder is a common cause of bed-wetting.

Bed-wetting can also be caused by sleep apnea. Since breathing during sleep can be difficult for those with sleep apnea, the brain works harder to take in oxygen than it does to control other bodily functions, like bladder control.

Often, a child’s snoring and apnea are due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids that are blocking the airway. If so, removing enlarged tonsils and adenoids to improve breathing often improves or eliminates bed-wetting. However, tonsils and adenoids should not be removed to resolve bed-wetting. It is only when bed-wetting is a symptom of sleep apnea that tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may be helpful.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on October 17, 2015

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