Bedwetting teenager? Here’s what you can do

By May 12, 2019Parenting

Wetting the bed is expected amongst young children. When you’re a child, you’re still learning to listen to your body when it comes to visiting the toilet. But you grow out of this, right?

As kids grow older and their bodies develop, messages between the bladder and brain become clearer, allowing the child to wake up when their bladder is full. The majority of children master bladder control by the age of 5, but for others, this can take a lot longer.

If your teen has this problem, they’re not alone. Bedwetting can be common amongst teenagers and it happens for several reasons.

Reasons for bedwetting:

A small bladder

If you have a small bladder, it may not be able to hold much urine. This can cause bedwetting.

Your genes


If you or your partner were prone to bedwetting as a child, there’s a good chance your child will become a bedwetter. If both of you were bedwetters, it’s even more likely.

Stress


Some experts believe that stressful events could lead to bedwetting. These events may include changing schools, moving to a new city, parents going through a divorce etc.

Your diet


Some foods that are high in salt. Drinking too much fluid before bed can also cause bedwetting.

Unusual sleep patterns

Many teens ignore bedtimes or don’t get enough sleep every night. This makes them likely to want to take naps and sleep late on weekends, causing an erratic sleeping pattern. This kind of sleep pattern can interfere with the brain’s normal sleep-wake cycles which tell you when you need the toilet.

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Medical issues


If your child has a medical condition like a urinary tract infection (UTI), a symptom could be bedwetting. Other conditions include diabetes and constipation.

Help your child beat bedwetting

  • Encourage your teen to use the toilet before bed so he can empty his bladder. An empty bladder means he’s less likely to wet the bed.
  • Limit drinks before bedtime.
  • Talk to your doctor about your child’s bedwetting. He may suggest medication or other solutions. Some treatments work by decreasing the amount of urine released from the kidneys or increasing how much urine the bladder can hold. Always ask your doctor about any risks of taking medication before giving it to your teen.
  • Try a bedwetting alarm. Bedwetting alarms have a moisture sensor that makes a buzzing or beeping sound to wake your teen if it senses your child is about to wet the bed.

Good to know


Bedwetting can cause embarrassment and self-esteem issues, particularly in teens. If bedwetting affects your child’s social life (e.g. prevents him from attending sleepovers), then you may need to take him to a therapist. Talk to your doctor who can refer you to one.

If your child is experiencing ongoing bedwetting after you’ve tried different treatment options, it might be a medical condition. See your doctor immediately in that case.

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