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What Leads To Night-Time Incontinence & Can It Be Cured?

Night-time incontinence is also known as nocturnal enuresis or bed-wetting. This refers to a condition in which you urinate involuntarily when you are in deep sleep. Also, this bed-wetting is seen after an age when staying dry at night is expected.

Usually, this bed wetting before the age of 7 years is not a reason for concern. During this age, the child may be still learning to control the bladder during the night-time. If after this age, bed wetting is a concern, it should be addressed with utmost patience and understanding. It can be reduced with the help of certain lifestyle changes and medicines if needed.(1)

What Leads To Night-Time Incontinence?

There is not a certain reason for why the night-time incontinence happens, but there may be several factors playing a role. These may include-

  • Size Of The Bladder- A child may have a smaller bladder which is not developed completely to hold the urine during night-time
  • Deep Sleeper- Your child may be unable to recognize that the bladder is full. This may happen if the nerves responsible for controlling the bladder are not developed properly. This is especially true if the child is a very deep sleeper
  • If the child does not produce enough of eh hormone ADH or anti-diuretic hormone, the night-time urine production may not slow down and can cause night-time incontinence
  • UTI– If the child is suffering from a urinary tract infection, he may find it difficult to control urination at night, and sometimes even during the day. The signs of a urinary infection may include night-time incontinence, day- time incontinence in severe cases, increased frequency of urination, reddish or pinkish urine, pain while urination, etc.
  • Diabetes– If a child has stayed reasonably dry at night for several years now; bed wetting can be one of the first signs of diabetes. He may also be showing other signs and symptoms like increased thirst, weight loss even after having a good appetite, fatigue, etc.
  • Constipation– If there is long-term constipation; the muscles controlling stool elimination can become dysfunctional. As these same muscles control urine elimination as well, this dysfunction of these muscles may result in night-time incontinence

If there is a defect in your neurological or urinary system, this defect may lead to night-time incontinence, though this is very rare.(1)

Can Night-Time Incontinence Be Cured?

In children, nighttime incontinence generally improves over time. In cases that it doesn’t or in other age groups than children, some measures can be taken to improve night- time incontinence. These may include-

Using Moisture Alarms-

  • These are tiny gadgets that are battery operated and are attached to a wet pad on your child’s.
  • These go off as soon as your child starts to urinate so that he wakes up and stop the flow of the urine and can make it up to the bathroom in time to urinate.
  • Moisture alarms are an effective way to treat nighttime incontinence in young children and better option than medicines.
  • However, these need time to show the results and patience is the key with these things.
  • Also, if your child is a deep sleeper, you may need to keep a watch on the alarm and wake your child so that he can go to the bathroom and urinate.(2)

If moisture alarms fail, then medicines may be recommended to treat night-time incontinence. Medicines may include those that slow down the urine production at night and those that calm the bladder. These medicines, however, are to be used only if other treatment options fail.(2)


There is not one single cause for night-time incontinence. Several factors may be responsible for causing it. Kids may outgrow it on their own and in other people; there may be an underlying medical condition which might be causing night- time incontinence.


Also Read:

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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