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Bedwetting Facts, Causes, Effects And Statistics

Jan 20, 2008
The Definition of Bedwetting

Most commonly found in young children, bedwetting (also known as enuresis, nocturnal enuresis, primary enuresis, and diurnal enuresis) is a sleep disorder caused by an undeveloped or stressed nervous system and/or urinary system. It is the result of both the nervous system and urinary system involuntarily releasing urine during the night hours while the victim is in a deep sleep. Since it is a problem that seemingly only occurs during the night and while the victim is asleep, it has been appropriately labeled as a sleep disorder.

Causes of Bedwetting

Research has thus far determined that bedwetting is an inherited problem rather than a suddenly developed issue or sign of bodily trauma. This is why the problem is less common in adolescents. Being inherited, bedwetting is discovered early on within the first five or six years of a young person's life. Only in rare cases is bedwetting caused by a non-sleep related problem, and in those cases, the culprits are usually diabetes or some sort of urinary tract infection.

Bedwetting Statistics

Almost 20 million Americans suffer from bedwetting. Although the number people who suffer from bedwetting worldwide is unknown, it's highly probable that the number is much higher - even into the billions while statistically, the problem affects half as many girls as it affects boys. The typical age range that this sleep disorder affects begins from birth and can last until the teen years. However its important to remember that isolated cases of bedwetting in young children is quite normal. It's only when children continue bedwetting after the age of six (in males) and five (in females) that parents should become concerned and start to question their pediatricians.

Isolated incidents of bedwetting differ from serious bedwetting problems in that the latter occurs anywhere from once a month to every night of the week. They also differ in that isolated incidents are usually the cause of a small bladder that's still maturing and developing control. Once a small bladder has fully developed, bedwetting problems disappear.

Interestingly, most young people who suffer from bed wetting share this problem with someone else in the family. In fact, the chances of a child wetting the bed are increased by 40 per cent if one of his or her parents suffered the same problem in the past.

The Effects of Bedwetting On A Young Child

A child's inability to control bodily functions can have a serious impact on how that child perceives himself. Most bedwetting children quickly develop a sense of low self-esteem, embarrassment, and guilt, yet they are not quick to discuss the problem with parents or pediatricians. Care must be taken to assure young, developing children that bedwetting is not their fault, that it is a sleeping disorder, and that there are some tools available to help.

Why Bedwetting Affects Mostly Children

Out of the entire sleeping population, its the youngest that sleep the most soundly. In fact, as people age, they begin to sleep lighter.
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