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Impact on Children

Those who bedwet are fundamentally no different from others on general psychological testing1,2.

However, recent research suggests that children who bedwet:

  • Have significantly lower self-esteem1,3-6
  • Experience prominent feelings of being ‘different’ from others5
  • Fear ‘discovery’, particularly by their peers1

Such fears reduce the willingness of children to spend nights away from home1.

Children who bedwet can avoid letting friends into their bedrooms or will not go to sleepovers or camp4:

  • As a result the child may become isolated as social interaction and development have been restricted4

Limited research also suggests an association between bullying and bedwetting1: It is most likely that the bullying is a result of bedwetting.


Putting PNE into perspective

In a study exploring the perceived difficulty of life events in 9 year old children, the following were all rated as being ‘quite difficult’7:

As the age of the child and the duration of PNE increase, the self-esteem domain of quality of life worsens8 .

Quality of sleep is also impaired in children who bedwet5.


Children with PNE have a significantly lower perceived competence than children without PNE, concerning physical appearance and self-esteem6.

There is also a tendency to a lower perceived competence in children with PNE regarding their scholastic skills and social acceptance6.


Do bedwetting children sleep deeper?

Parents of enuretic children are almost unanimous in stating that their children are nearly impossible to wake up. Attempts to validate this opinion have however been largely unsuccessful and sleep patterns appear to be perfectly normal in children with PNE. Despite a normal sleep pattern, evidence has emerged that children with night-time bedwetting may have an abnormal arousal response to a full bladder.1

Dobson 2000
Dobson P. Family Medicine 2000; December:15-7.
Hjalmas 1997
Hjalmas K. Acta Paediatr 1997;86:919‐22.
Hagglof 1996
Hagglof B et al. Scand J Urol Nephrol 1997;183:79-82.
Warzak 1993
Warzak WJ. Clinical Pediatrics 1993;32:38‐40.
Gozmen 2008
Gozmen S, Keskin S, Akil I. Pediatr Nephrol 2008;23:1293‐6.
Theunis 2002
Theunis M et al. Eur Urol 2002;41:660-7.
Butler 2007
Butler RJ, Heron J. Child: care, health and development 2007;34:65-70.
Ertan 2009
Ertan P et al. Child: care, health and development 2009; 35(4):469-74.
Rittig 1989
Rittig S et al. Am J Physiol 1989;25(4):F664-667.