Bedwetting: Types, Causes & Symptoms

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Bedwetting is an involuntary act of urinating unknowingly. It causes embarrassment in individuals, but proper eating habits and avoiding liquids before sleeping, along with other treatment measures can completely cure the habit.

What is Bedwetting?

Bedwetting, nighttime incontinence, or nocturnal enuresis is the act of involuntary urination while the individual is asleep. This condition most commonly affects children, but there are cases of adults suffering from bedwetting as well. Studies have shown that female adults suffer from this condition where an overactive bladder is often responsible for bladder dysfunctions.

It is a habit-related disorder and is a cause of embarrassment to both parents as well as children when they grow up. Reports say that at the age of 5, 20% of children wet their bed at night, out of which 15% are able to learn and achieve control over the disorder within a year.



Bedwetting can be categorized into two types:

  • Primary bedwetting: In this type, the child urinates almost every night.
  • Secondary bedwetting: The act of urinating is random and occurs rarely.


The main cause that seems to be most common is the immaturity of the urinary system of children. That is why there is no voluntary control over the act of micturition, causing the release of urine abruptly. It may also be possible that the bladder of the child is too small to hold the urine within it and is therefore expelled unknowingly.

Other conditions that may cause bedwetting include:


The prominent symptoms of bedwetting include the following:

  • Unintentional and uncontrolled wetting
  • Urination is accompanied by burning sensations
  • Dripping in and staining of the underpants
  • Urine is cloudy and reddish in appearance

Note: While bedwetting at night is more common, it may also occur during napping in the daytime.

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