Table of Contents:

  1. What is enuresis?
  2. What are the symptoms?
  3. What are the causes?
  4. Risk factors
  5. Prognosis of enuresis
  6. How is it treated?

What is enuresis?

Enuresis is involuntary urination at rest. It occurs in children 7 years of age and older. It is also known as “urinary incontinence” or “nocturnal enuresis”.

Although there is no precise date for the full development of urinary control, it is estimated that most children have it by the age of 5. However, after the age of 7, some children continue to have enuresis.

What are the symptoms?

The most visible symptom of enuresis is the involuntary loss of urine during the night. However, in some cases, constipation and difficulty waking up are also present.
Although bedwetting usually passes on its own, in some cases it is an indication of an undiagnosed disorder. It is important to pay attention to the following aspects:

  • If the child wets the bed after the age of 7.
  • If the child wets the bed for a period of time, even after the bedwetting has stopped.
  • Painful urination.
  • Unusual thirst.
  • Snoring.
  • Hard stools.
  • Red or pink urine.

What are the causes?

It is not sufficiently clear which are the aspects that generate enuresis. However, there are some factors that may play a role:

  • Lack of ability to sense a full bladder: in some cases the nerves are slow to mature and you may not recognize when it is full, especially if you sleep deeply.
  • Small bladder: due to lack of development.
  • Hormonal imbalance: when a child does not generate enough antidiuretic hormone, urine production is delayed at night.
  • Urinary tract infection: usually has symptoms such as enuresis, the need to urinate often, red urine and painful urination.
  • Sleep apnea: there are some situations in which enuresis is an indication of obstructive sleep apnea, in which breathing is interrupted during sleep.
  • Diabetes: Bedwetting may be the first symptom of diabetes. It often occurs along with other signs such as fatigue, thinness and persistent thirst.
  • Chronic constipation: if there is constipation for a long time, the muscles used for urination and defecation may be dysfunctional.
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They recommend encouraging the child to
to go to the bathroom before going to sleep.

What are the risk factors?

Although it can occur in anyone, it is more frequent in boys. In addition, in many cases it is associated with other rather psychological aspects that facilitate the onset of enuresis:

  • Attention deficit with hyperactivity
  • Stress, anxiety or anguish
  • Family history

Prognosis of enuresis

Nocturnal urinary incontinence in children is not a serious problem and usually passes on its own or with some type of short-term pharmacological treatment. However, it is important to know that it can have consequences on the child’s quality of life.
Firstly, on many occasions the child may experience shame and guilt, which leads to the development of low self-esteem. In addition, in most patients it leads to social isolation, as they do not want to sleep in other people’s homes or go camping or on school trips.

What is the treatment like?

In general, children learn to control their bladder on their own. However, there are some situations where some type of treatment is necessary.

  1. Moisture alarms: these are battery-operated devices that plug into a compress located in the pajamas. It is sensitive to moisture, so when it detects it, an alarm sounds. This treatment requires time, estimated between 8 and 16 weeks.
  2. Medications: aimed at delaying nocturnal urine production or calming the bladder.
  3. Changing lifestyle habits: it is important to limit fluid intake at night, avoid caffeine and encourage the child to go to the bathroom during the day and before bedtime.