Definition of Enuresis
Enuresis (bedwetting) is the involuntary discharge of urine during sleep. It is called bedwetting after the age by which bladder control should have been established. In children, voluntary control of urination is usually present by the age of five. Nevertheless, nocturnal enuresis is present in about 15 to 20 percent of otherwise healthy 5-year-old children, 7 percent of healthy 7-year-olds, 5 percent of healthy 10-year-olds, 2 to 3 percent of 12 to 14-year-olds and 1 to 2 percent of normal children at age 15. Enuresis is slightly more common in boys than in girls and occurs more frequently in the first born child.
Description of Enuresis
Enuresis is the involuntary voiding of urine at least twice a month in a child age five or older. Children vary markedly in the age at which they are physiologically ready to awaken from sleep aware of the need to urinate. This hinders their ability to hold their urine throughout the night.
If the child has never been totally dry for a year, the condition is known as primary enuresis. Eighty-percent of children who wet their bed suffer from primary enuresis.
Secondary enuresis is when a child has had a dry period of at least a year before the appearance of the problem. The child invariably urinates during the first third of the night and remembers nothing of the occurrence.
Although in 1 percent of cases, enuresis continues into adulthood, most children are continent by adolescence. Aside from wet pajamas, enuresis itself causes no direct impairment of the child's life, but social ostracism by peers (at sleepovers and camp, for example), and anger and rejection by parents can damage self-esteem.
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