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Nocturnal enuresis, also referred to as primary nocturnal enuresis, is the medical term for bedwetting.
Nocturnal enuresis applies specifically to children who have always wet the bed, as opposed to the other forms of bedwetting, including secondary enuresis (which is when a child has been dry for a consecutive period of six months and then starts wetting the bed again).
Bedwetting is an extremely common. In fact, up to 15% of five year olds and up to 5% of ten year olds wet the bed. Around 97% of children have grown out of bedwetting by the age of 12, so most cases are nothing to worry about and simply require some love and support.
Will it have an impact on my child?
The majority of children will outgrow the bedwetting stage relatively unscathed – how we manage and support our children throughout this process will really determine the long-term impact.
Parental responses to bedwetting can either help diffuse a potentially stressful situation, or make a bad situation even worse.
If handled poorly bedwetting can lead to feelings of incompetency, shame, confusion and anxiety.
As parents, we can help our child by being empathic, loving and supportive.
It is important to never punish a child for their bedwetting, this only provides children with the message that they somehow have control over what is happening and that the bedwetting is their fault.
Reassure your child that none of this is their fault. Promoting self-confidence and positive self-esteem is particularly important at this time.
Nocturnal enuresis has various causes; not all children will wet the bed for the same reasons.
These are the most common causes of nocturnal enuresis:
Bedwetting can be a source of emotional distress to child sufferers and is often damaging to self-esteem. Providing lots of love and emotional support during this time is necessary and will help reassure your child.
There are a range of bedwetting products on the market, which help reduce stress for both parents and children. If your child is old enough, discuss these products with them first and allow them to choose which ones they feel comfortable using.