Free Press Journal

Your child more likely to wet bed if you did as a kid


New Delhi: The chances of bed-wetting by a child increases by 50-75 per cent if their parents had the same problem in their childhood, leading paediatricians said.

The likelihood of a child exhibiting nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting) is about 50 per cent if one parent had the same problem in the early years. That probability jumps to 75 per cent if both parents could not control their bladder while sleeping during their childhood.

If none of the parents had wet the bed as a child, the chances that their child will wet the bed drops to 15 per cent. “Parents have to understand that bed-wetting is mostly genetic apart from many other reasons,” said Kanav Anand, a paediatric nephrologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

“In bed-wetting children, the level of arginine vasopressin, a hormone that decreases the production of urine by the kidneys, goes down during sleep, causing the bladder to fill slowly,” Anand said.

About 85 per cent of children develop complete bladder control by five years of age. More boys tend to wet bed than girls up to the age of 12 years. Many a times the children either have a smaller urinary bladder or do not realise that their bladder is full, Anand said, adding that consulting a paediatrician in such situations is helpful.

The health experts also said that constipation and some symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be linked to bed-wetting in children, so it is important for the parents to check with a paediatrician.

P.K. Pruthi, a Delhi-based paediatric nephrologist, said sometimes mental stress, such as caused by sexual abuse or death in the family, becomes the cause of bed-wetting among children. The parents of a child who wets the bed even after the age of three years should seek a medical investigation of the problem, Pruthi said.

“There are some medical conditions like urinary tract infection, diabetes and sleep apnea which are associated with enuresis,” said Pruthi.