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Enuresis in children – So what is the cause?

Family History

Yes, bedwetting can be genetic. 50%* of the children that suffer from bedwetting, have a parent that also struggled with bedwetting as a child. If both parents suffered from bedwetting as kids, the chance of that child suffering from the problem will be 75%*.
A child without any family history of bedwetting only has a 15%* chance of developing problems.
Bedwetting is more common among boys than girls*.

Slow development of brain-bladder-control

Have you ever heard the phrase “my child is a deep sleeper”? Well, actually this is true in many cases. Deep sleep affects the way the bladder communicates with the brain. So instead of waking up, the child’s pelvic floor muscle relaxes and empties while the child is asleep. This brain-bladder-control will develop over time, or speed up with treatment.

Smaller bladder capacity

Some children have bladders that can only hold a smaller amount of urine. This condition makes the child wet the bed while sleeping.

Producing too much urine while sleeping

Some children’s kidneys produce too much urine during the night. This is normally controlled by the brain that produces a hormone called antidiuretic hormone (ADH) which slows down the urine production. If the brain doesn’t produce enough of this hormone or if the kidney stops responding to it, the child will either have to wake up to go to the toilet or wet the bed. Caffeinated and carbonated drinks may also cause the kidneys to produce more urine.

Sleep disorder

Sleep walking or obstructive sleep apnea can make the heart produce atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP). This substance will make the kidneys produce more urine during the night.


Constipation can cause a pressure against the bladder. This pressure affects how much urine the bladder can hold and can cause leaking.

* www.urologyhealth.org

Coping with bedwetting

Bedwetting can be extremely stressful for families. Several things can help you cope. We wrote some of them down for you.


  • Bedwetting isn’t your child’s fault, don’t punish or tease the child.
  • Let your child eat what he / she wants. It is less important during treatment.
  • Let your child drink what he / she wants. Swedish research has shown that it is less important for treatment.
  • Have your child use Pjama when sleeping, both at home and away.
  • Use the DryGuardians app to keep a calendar and to write down the progress. This will help when contacting a doctor.
  • Talk about it! We know for a fact that there are many children who’re suffering from bedwetting, but no one is talking about it. Exchange tips and tricks with your loved ones, and let your child know that this is normal.
  • Never talk about bedwetting as something shameful. The child has enough of that from other channels.
  • Don’t give up. Get help and don’t ever forget that you’re enough.

Enuresis in adults – So what is the cause?

Although bedwetting is mostly associated with children it affects adults too. It’s estimated that up to 5 million adults, in America alone, are suffering from enuresis**.
There are various reasons why adults might have, or develop, nocturnal enuresis. Adult bedwetting could be caused by underlying conditions that require medical treatment or it can be caused by temporary reasons like UTIs or stress. Here’s a short list of the most common underlying causes:


Just like nocturnal enuresis in children can be caused by their genes, nocturnal enuresis in adults can be hereditary too.

UTI (urinary tract infection)

Sometimes an infection in the urinary tract can cause bedwetting since it causes a frequent need to urinate. UTIs are generally not that serious and can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

Side effect of medication

If you are taking medication for your heart, mental health or blood pressure this may change how your bladder works. The medication can reduce your control over the bladder causing you to wet the bed.

Stress and/or anxiety

The state of your mental wellbeing can trigger bedwetting. If left untreated the bedwetting may continue until your stress or anxiety reduces.


Drinks containing caffeine and/or carbonic acid (like sodas, carbonated water) may irritate the bladder.

Other causes

Other causes for bedwetting can be the anatomy of your bladder. If your bladder is smaller than usual it cannot hold as much urine during the night as it should. You could also be suffering from an overactive bladder which can cause you to wet the bed during the night.

If you’re suffering from adult bedwetting it’s important to consult with a doctor to rule out any possible underlying medical conditions.
It’s important to know that nocturnal enuresis itself may not have any serious consequences to your physical health, but left untreated, may affect your quality of life and self-esteem.

** National Association for Continence


Coping and treating bedwetting in adults

Bedwetting can be extremely stressful and have a negative effect on your self-esteem. Several things can help you cope. We wrote some of them down for you.

  • Medication: There are some medications available to control nocturnal enuresis. Note that these medications are not for treatment.
  • Enuresis alarms: These alarms are designed to help you wake up when an accident has occurred. The alarm helps to teach your body to hold the urine until you wake up and can go to the bathroom. Pjama offers a great solution for bedwetting alarm which is both effective and discrete.
  • Therapy: For some adults therapy is a good solution. If you’re suspecting that stress and/or anxiety is the main underlying cause of your bedwetting therapy can be helpful.
  • Beverages: You should, ideally, drink 6 – 8 glasses of fluids per day. It’s good to drink as much of this during the day and cut down in the evening. Choose drinks without caffeine or bubbles to lessen the stress on your bladder.

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