Medical Causes of Bed-Wetting

Topic Overview

Medical conditions may cause a child to begin wetting the bed after a period of time in which he or she has had bladder control (secondary nocturnal enuresis).

Some medical conditions that may cause bed-wetting include:

  • Diabetes, especially if the child is urinating more often than normal and/or is more thirsty than normal.
  • Bladder or kidney infections (urinary tract infections), especially if the child is urinating more often than normal and/or complains of pain when urinating. The child may also have accidental wettings or may leak urine (have damp underpants) during the day.
  • Constipation, especially if the child complains of abdominal (belly) pain and has large, hard stools or watery stool leaking from the bowel. Children who have stool less frequently than every 2 days may need to be checked for constipation.
  • Bladder stones (calculi), especially if the child has a weak urine stream and complains of pain.
  • Abnormal activity of the bladder muscle, especially if the child:
    • Urinates more often than normal (frequency).
    • Cannot hold urine when the urge to urinate occurs (urgency).
    • Has leakage of urine.
    • Has pain while urinating.
  • Allergy to bubble bath or soap, especially in young girls. The symptoms may include belly pain, vaginal burning, and redness of the genital area.
  • Infection of the vagina, especially if the girl has discharge from the vagina.
  • Side effect of medicine.
  • Seizures.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised October 24, 2012

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