Bedwetting can be excruciatingly embarrassing for kids plagued by this condition past the toddler years. They may or may not be reassured by the fact that they are far from alone in this. Five to seven million children over the age of five wet their beds.
It may not be any great comfort for them to know that chances are, some other family members were bedwetters. Even hearing that they will outgrow it, that most people do, tends not to ease the embarrassment or the worry.
Instead they may imagine the special status of being the only kid who never outgrew this problem. They may picture themselves going off on their honeymoon with adult-sized diapers in their luggage.
But it really is true. Most will eventually grow out of it.
Bedwetting is also known as nocturnal enuresis. Primary nocturnal enuresis is the term for someone who has been wetting the bed since infancy. Secondary nocturnal enuresis refers to bedwetting that resumes after six months or longer of being dry at night.
One cause seems to be an immature bladder. Normally when the bladder is full, the nerves in the bladder wall message this information to the brain. The brain messages the bladder, telling it not to empty during sleep.
The bladder and brain of the child with nocturnal enuresis do not share these vital messages, and the child ends up on sodden sheets.
If the child is a deep sleeper, they may not awaken in time to get to the bathroom, and come up wet once again.
The child's bladder may be too small, with more urine being produced through the night than the bladder can contain.
All of these scenarios tend to be self-correcting over time.
It is important to reassure the child that this is a common problem, and not something to feel guilty about.
Limiting liquids late in the day, going to the toilet before bed, may help. Covering the mattress with plastic keeps it dry.
Having extra bedding within an older child's reach so they can change it themselves, may make them feel more in control and less apologetic.