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What Causes Bedwetting in Children?

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What Causes Bedwetting in Children?

Nighttime wetting is often related to slow physical development, a family history of bedwetting, or making too much urine at night. In many cases, there is more than one cause. Children almost never wet the bed on purpose—and most children who wet the bed are physically and emotionally normal.

Sometimes a health condition can lead to bedwetting, such as diabetes or constipation.

Bedwetting often runs in families, where it is usually a normal growth pattern, not an illness.

Slow physical development

Between ages 5 and 10, slow physical development can cause your child to wet the bed. Your child may have a small bladder, deep sleep cycles, or a nervous system that’s still growing and developing. The nervous system handles the body’s alarms—sending signals about a full or emptying bladder—and the need to wake up.

Family history

Bedwetting often runs in families. Researchers have found genes that are linked to bedwetting. Genes are parts of the master code that children inherit from each parent for hair color and many other features and traits.

Making too much urine

Your child’s kidneys may make too much urine overnight, leading to an overfull bladder. If your child doesn’t wake up in time, a wet bed is likely. Often this excess urine at night is due to low levels of a natural substance called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH tells the kidneys to release less water at night.

Sleep disorders

Sleepwalking and obstructive sleep apnea NIH external link (OSA) can lead to bedwetting. With OSA, children breathe poorly and get less oxygen, which triggers the kidneys to make extra urine at night. Bedwetting can be a sign that your child has OSA. Other symptoms include snoring, mouth breathing, ear and sinus infections, a dry mouth in the morning, and daytime sleepiness.


Stress can sometimes lead to bedwetting, and worry about daytime or nighttime wetting can make the problem worse. Stresses that may affect your child include a new baby in the family, sleeping alone, moving or starting a new school, abuse, or a family crisis.

CCH is open, safe and ready to see you

With almost 80 physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in nearly 20 specialties, CCH is committed to your wellbeing right here at home. If you have been putting off a visit to your doctor for a regular checkup or for an issue like incontinence, contact them; they can help weigh your personal healthcare risk and avoid further delayed diagnoses.

  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Urology