What Is Primary Bedwetting?

Children get often teased within their families if they are experiencing bedwetting, when they pee while asleep making the bed wet (hence the term). However, bedwetting is more than just "a part of childhood." Also known as nocturnal enuresis, bedwetting is the involuntary passage of urine while asleep.

There are two types of this: primary and secondary. Primary bedwetting is generally viewed that it is cause by a delay in the nervous system’s maturation, when the sleep arousal centers of the brain fails to recognize the neurologic messages sent the by the full bladder. Normally, having a full bladder while asleep constricts your urine passageway, but this does not happen if a child is bedwetting.


Approximately 20 percent of children at 5 years of age have wet the bed at least once a month, with about 5 percent of males and 1 percent of females wetting nightly. By the age of 6, the numbers reduce to 10 percent of bedwetting children, most of them are boys. The number of bedwetters are diminished by half each year after 5 years of age. Heredity also plays a role in this condition. If a parent was a bedwetter as a child, the offspring has a 45 percent chance of developing primary enuresis as well.

Problems in primary bedwetting

Children suffering from primary bedwetting are often unable to recognize neurologic messages sent by the full bladder to the sleep arousal centers of the brain. They also have smaller bladders compared to other children who do not have bedwetting issues. Parents often believe that primary bedwetting is emotional in natural, however no medical or scientific studies have proved of such claims.

Treatment for primary bedwetting

Bedwetting problems can be solved through time. However, many parents tend to get frustrated with their children’s bedwetting that it has become an interference to the kids’ self-esteem as well as attending certain social events like camping or sleepovers.

If a child has primary enuresis, he or she should consult a physician and discuss about treatment options, although it should be noted that primary enuresis can be a normal developmental stage. Parents can also train their child to use the toilet when they feel they need to pee during sleep time, but that takes time and patience to succeed.

Preventive measures can also be done for the child to treat or at least deal with bedwetting, such as restricting fluid intake before bedtime, covering the mattress with plastic, use of bedwetting alarms that goes off when it senses urine, and even bladder-stretching exercises. Medications can also be taken such as desmopressin acetate and imipramine.

Both have been shown to be very effective at temporarily treat the nighttime urination, but not when it comes to "curing" the enuresis. These medications can be used by the child if he or she is not sleeping at home, since the associated trauma of bedwetting in those settings is unavoidable.