Childhood Enuresis

What is childhood enuresis?

Enuresis is the medical term for what is commonly known as bedwetting. It is quite common during childhood, and occurs more in boys than in girls, as sphincter maturation takes a little longer in boys.

Prognosis of the disease

Childhood enuresis is not a serious health condition, but the reality is that it is a major problem for affected children, who may feel ashamed or helpless, as well as being the target of teasing or bullying by their peers.

Thus, enuresis can cause psychological problems or trauma in children. In addition, it can increase the risk of infections in the genital area due to wet sleeping.

Symptoms of childhood enuresis

The symptom of enuresis is that the child is not able to control his or her sphincter properly, and can occur both during the day and, more frequently, at night while sleeping.

Bedwetting may be due to physiological issues, problems in daily routines or even psychological issues.

Causes of childhood enuresis

In childhood enuresis, bedwetting is not only caused by drinking too many liquids before bedtime, nor by a mental or behavioral problem, but has other causes:

  • Genetic factors
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Slow development of the central nervous system

In other cases, childhood nocturnal enuresis may occur because the child’s bladder is still too small; also because the amount of urine produced at night is greater than the bladder can hold, or simply because the child needs more time to learn to control this organ.

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Can bedwetting in children be prevented?

It is not possible to prevent this phenomenon before it happens, nor to guess when exactly it will occur, but there are some risk factors that can promote bedwetting, such as stress, anxiety, or ADHD that is not treated properly.

Treatments for childhood enuresis

As for treatment, the first step is to consult a specialist in pediatric urology to rule out physiological causes and other related problems. The specialist will recommend behavioral therapies to correct the bedwetting, and it may be necessary to see a child psychologist if the child is suffering from stress or anxiety that is causing the bedwetting.

Thus, medications that help the bladder to hold more urine are generally resorted to only when previous behavioral therapy has not worked.

Which specialist treats it?

The first specialist to visit in a case of childhood enuresis will be the pediatrician or pediatric urologist, to rule out physiological causes of the problem. In such a case, the child psychologist should be consulted to obtain diagnosis and therapy for each specific case.