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Bedwetting (cont.)

What Are Risk Factors for Bedwetting?

Risk factors for the development of enuresis include

  • male gender and family history;
  • medical conditions such as abnormal anatomy or function of the kidneys, bladder, or neurologic system;
  • sleep apnea;
  • chronic constipation;
  • sexual abuse;
  • excessive fluid intake before bedtime;
  • urinary tract infection; and
  • some medications (for example, caffeine).

What Symptoms May Be Associated With Bedwetting?

Most people who wet their beds, wet only at night. They tend to have no other symptoms other than wetting the bed at night.

Other symptoms could suggest psychological causes or problems with the nervous system or kidneys and should alert the family or health-care provider that this may be more than routine bedwetting.

  • Wetting during the day
  • Frequency, urgency, or burning on urination
  • Straining, dribbling, or other unusual symptoms with urination
  • Cloudy or pinkish urine, or blood stains on underpants or pajamas
  • Soiling, being unable to control bowel movements (known as fecal incontinence or encopresis)
  • Constipation

Frequency of urination is different for children than for adults.

  • While many adults urinate only three or four times a day, children urinate much more frequently, in some cases as often as 10-12 times each day.
  • "Frequency" as a symptom should be judged in terms of what is normal for that particular child.
  • Equally important, "infrequent voiding" (less than three times urinating/day) can be a sign of other underlying problems.

Fecal impaction may present as constipation. Both fecal impaction and constipation cause straining, which can injure the nearby urinary sphincters, muscles that control flow of urine out of the body.

  • Fecal impaction occurs when feces becomes so tightly packed in the lower intestine (colon) and rectum that passing a bowel movement becomes very difficult or even impossible. When the stool is passed, it is often a painful experience.
  • The hard, tightly packed feces in the rectum can press on the bladder and surrounding nerves and muscles, interfering with bladder control.
  • Neither fecal impaction nor constipation is unusual in children.
  • A strict bowel regimen utilizing dietary modification and/or over the counter medications can often alleviate bedwetting.
Last Reviewed 11/21/2017
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Enuresis »

The word enuresis is derived from a Greek word that means "to make water."

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