Where can I get more information about how to treat bedwetting?

Davina Richardson, RGN/RSCN Specialist Children’s Nurse at Bladder & Bowel UK, outlines the importance of identifying the right treatment options for bedwetting. Find out where you can go for quality information and why a timely assessment by your doctor or nurse can really make a difference.

Bedwetting is one of the most common medical conditions in childhood. It is considered a medical problem from a child’s fifth
birthday. Some children do grow out of it, but without treatment bedwetting can continue into adolescence and beyond. Children who are wet most nights are least likely to get better without treatment.

There is lots of information about bedwetting on the internet, but not all of it is up-to-date or reliable. However, websites such as Bladder & Bowel UK at www.bbuk.org.uk and www.stopbedwetting.org have useful and relevant information produced by specialist doctors and nurses who are used to working with children and young people in the UK who wet the bed.

Bedwetting is caused by different problems. These include either producing too much wee when asleep or having a bladder that is not holding the wee well enough. All children who wet the bed also have a problem waking up to their bladder signals (otherwise they would wake and go to the toilet).

The right treatment for a child or young person is the one that is most likely to treat the cause of the problem. If they have a problem both with the amount of wee they produce, and their ability to store it properly, they may need more than one treatment at the same time. Not all treatments are right for everyone, so assessment is important.

The main options for treatment are:

  • A medicine that works by helping the kidneys to make less wee at night, so the bladder can hold onto what is made. This can be an effective and generally well tolerated option for children and young people whose night time wetting is caused by their kidneys making too much wee during the night
  • An alarm (also known as an enuresis alarm). These work by making a noise as soon as the child or young person starts to wee. Many children and young people need help to learn to wake to the alarm, but they work well for those whose bladders are not holding enough wee, or who are struggling to wake up to the bladder signals
  • Medicine that helps the bladder to get better at holding onto the wee. This works for children and young people whose bladders get ‘twitchy’ while they are filling. Many, but not all, of these children and young people have to get to the toilet quickly in the day and may get some damp pants if they cannot get to the toilet quickly enough.

Your doctor or nurse should be able to provide more information and advice about bedwetting and discuss the right treatment options for you and your child, or refer you to a special clinic.

For more information visit www.bbuk.org.uk and www.stopbedwetting.org

Bladder & Bowel UK also provide a confidential helpline service at email bbuk@disabledliving.co.uk or on telephone 0161 607 8219

By Davina Richardson Specialist Children’s Nurse, Bladder & Bowel UK

Date of preparation: November 2019