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Bedwetting - Symptoms of bedwetting

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Bedwetting is usually only regarded as a medical issue when it occurs in children five years old or older who wet the bed at least twice a week.

Frequent bedwetting in children under the age of five isn't usually a cause for concern unless the child is upset by it.

Additional symptoms

In some cases, a child has additional symptoms related to their bedwetting, such as:

  • wetness during the daytime (urinary incontinence) - such as a sudden and urgent need to pee, which can result in your child wetting themselves if they can't reach a toilet in time
  • a frequent need to pee, or needing to pee infrequently (usually considered to be less than four times a day)
  • pain when urinating
  • having to strain to pass urine
  • constipation
  • soiling (accidental loss of bowel control)
  • feeling very thirsty all the time
  • high temperature (fever) of 38°C (100.4°F) or above
  • having blood in their urine

The medical name for this type of bedwetting is polysymptomatic enuresis. Bedwetting without additional symptoms is known as monosymptomatic enuresis.

When to seek medical advice

See your child's GP if:

  • your child is five years old or older and regularly wets the bed, and it bothers you or your child
  • bedwetting episodes are particularly upsetting, even if your child is younger than five years old
  • your child has any additional symptoms (see above) along with bedwetting
  • your child has suddenly started wetting the bed after a long period of being dry at night

Aside from the physical effects, such as skin irritation, bedwetting can have a significant adverse impact on a child's self esteem and self confidence. You should seek medical help if you suspect this is the case.

If your child has additional symptoms or bedwetting that develops suddenly, they may have an underlying health problem, such as type 1 diabetes or a urinary tract infection (usually a bacterial infection of the urinary tract), which requires treatment.

Medical Review: May 06, 2013
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