Bedwetting is common all over the worldBy: Renee Mercer, MSN, CPNP
Numerous epidemiological studies have provided insight into how common nocturnal enuresis is among children throughout the world. To put bedwetting into perspective, recognize that the development of urinary control is a maturational process.
Everyone is a born wetting the bed. As children grow and develop, so does their ability to control their bladder. Between the ages of 1 and 2 they have a gradual enlargement of bladder capacity and begin to sense when their bladder is full. When they are 3 and 4 they learn to void, or inhibit voiding, voluntarily. By the age of 5, the majority of children have an adult pattern of urinary control and the maturation of the bladder is complete. However, approximately 20% of children have not developed this pattern and are still having bedwetting episodes. As your child grows older, chances decrease that bedwetting will just "disappear" without help.
How prevalent is bedwetting? Studies have been conducted internationally to identify how many children wet the bed and the results vary widely. Numerous researchers cite the difficulty in getting willing parents to volunteer information for accurate statistics. Nevertheless, several studies show significant prevalence in school aged children.
Estimated Prevalence of Nocturnal Enuresis in Children
Source: Adapted from Fergusson DM et al and Johnson M
The spontaneous remission rate for enuresis is estimated to be approximately 15% per year. In other words, without any intervention, only 15% of bedwetting children will become dry each year. Unfortunately, the vast majority (i.e., 85%) will still be wetting the bed a year from now if parents, or their healthcare providers, choose not to intervene with treatment.
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