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What Are The First Symptoms Of Night-Time Incontinence & How Do You Test For It?

Night-time incontinence refers to a condition in which there is involuntary urination in the sleep at an age when you can be expected to stay dry at night. It is common in children. It is also known as bed wetting or nocturnal enuresis.(1)

What Are The First Symptoms Of Night-Time Incontinence?

Kids usually get fully toilet trained by the age of five years. However, this may vary from child to child as there is no set date for a child to develop complete bladder control. Between the ages of five to seven, some children may still face bed wetting and they slowly outgrow it. Beyond the age of seven years however few kids still wet the bed at night when it becomes a cause for concern.(1)

Some children may need a little help with bed wetting after the age of seven. In children who already were completely toilet trained and suddenly relapsed into bed wetting, or adults or other people who are not supposed to wet the bed, there may be another underlying medical condition for bed wetting, which needs to be addressed before treating bed-wetting(1)

The early symptoms of bed wetting may include-

  1. Bed-wetting after the age of seven years
  2. Beginning to wet the bed after going dry at night for several months in a row

There are other signs along with bed wetting, like excessive thirst, reddish or pinkish colored urine, constipation, snoring, etc.(1)

How Do You Test For Night-Time Incontinence?

usually, an occurrence of bed wetting beyond the age of seven or after gaining complete bladder control in small kids, and in other persons, an occurrence of bed wetting at any age when they are expected to have complete bladder control is enough to diagnose a problem of urinary incontinence.

However, your doctor may suggest certain tests to identify if there is any other underlying medical condition for bed wetting. These tests may include-

Physical Examination-

  • He will conduct a thorough physical examination
  • He will discuss with you about your fluid intake, bowel and bladder routine, family history, other problems related to bed wetting, etc.
  • He will ask you to take some urine tests to check for any urine infection or signs of diabetes
  • He may ask you to go for an x-ray examination or ultrasonography of your urinary tract to check for kidneys, bladder and other structures
  • The diagnosis and the results of tests will decide the course of treatment that is needed to treat night-time incontinence.(2)

Night-time incontinence can affect anyone. However, it is more commonly seen in boys as compared to girls. Some factors may increase your risk of getting night-time incontinence, like-

Anxiety And Stress-

Certain stressful events like the birth of a new baby in the family, changing places, going to a new school, sleeping away from home, etc. may contribute to stress especially in small kids and may lead to bed wetting

Family History-

If there is a family history of bed-wetting, then your child is more likely to wet the bed at night


Children who suffer from ADD/ADHD have been commonly seen wetting the bed at night and many times during the day as well.(1)


The first symptoms of night-time incontinence include bed-wetting in kids above seven years of age, or in those kids who have been dry for several months in a row and have relapsed into bed-wetting, or those other people who can be expected to stay dry at night, but have started showing signs of night-time incontinence due to some reason. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your condition based on a simple questionnaire. However, he may ask you to get a few tests done to identify the cause of your problem.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 18, 2019

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