Bedwetting also known as sleepwetting is medically referred to as nocturnal enuresis. It is urinating unknowingly during sleep at an age when one should be able to control one's bladder and bowel movement. Bedwetting among children of certain age is normal and should not call for any concern. It is commonest urologist complaints from parents. It is not a physical or emotional problem but just a development delay. However, it becomes a problem when it continues to a certain age. Such cases are very rare. On estimate, only about 5% to10% of cases of bedwettings results from medical conditions.
Bedwetting is basically of two types, namely, primary bedwetting and secondary bedwetting. Primary bedwetting abbreviated as PNE is the type of bedwetting that occurs when a child has not stayed dry for a prolonged period of time. It is the commonest type and may not require medical attention. Secondary bedwetting occurs when a child or an adult starts wetting the bed at night after staying dry for a long time. Secondary bedwetting can be caused by some medical condition such as bladder infection. It can also be caused by emotional stress.
As it has been said above, primary bedwetting does not call for a hospital visit. However, it will become a medical problem when a child continues to urinate involuntarily when sleeping at night when the child has reached an age when he is supposed to stop urinating or when he is supposed to sleep without being waken up and taken to the toilet to pee.
It has been discovered through studies that nocturnal enuresis can as a result of side effect of antipsychotic drugs. Certain diet may also create favorable condition for nocturnal enuresis. Thus, parents should mind the type of food they give their little ones. If a child suffers from constipation after eating a particular food, that food should not be given to the child again because it can make him or her to suffer from bedwetting.
Medical practitioners have different opinion regarding when a child should be able to control his or her bladder during night sleep or should be able to remain dry throughout the night. However, it is a common opinion that a child as from the age of 4 to 5 years should be able to control his bladder during sleep at night. This is the time to diagnose primary enuresis. It is also the age most insurance companies used for PNE. Based on this opinion, a child is said to have primary enuresis when he or she persistently bed-wet during sleep when there is no any known medical, neurological anomaly or urological problems.
On the contrary, some medical personnel are of the opinion that primary bedwetting should be diagnosed when a child has turned 7 years and still bed-wets regularly during night sleep. For these medical practitioners, this is the time primary enuresis can be seen as a clinical problem.
For psychologists, nocturnal enuresis is diagnosed when a child of 5 years and above bed wets at least twice per week for three consecutive months without suffering from any medical condition or taking any medication that may induce such condition.