Enuresis (bed-wetting) is the term used for the involuntary passage of urine during sleep. It is a very common problem that affects 10% of 6-year-olds, 5% of 10-year-olds, 3% of 12-year-olds, and 1% of 18-year-olds.
Most teens with enuresis have inherited a small bladder, which cannot hold all the urine produced during a night. Measure your bladder size to see what you have to overcome. (Normal teen size is 12 to 16 ounces of urine.) In addition, teens are deep sleepers who don't awaken to the signal of a full bladder. If they did, they wouldn't be wet. Physical causes are very rare and your healthcare provider can easily detect them. Emotional problems do not cause enuresis, but they can occur if it is mishandled.
Even without treatment, all children and teens eventually get over their bed-wetting, but it may take years. With treatment, you can become dry much sooner. Using the following suggestions, most teenagers can learn to use the toilet during the night.
If you do use a medication, be careful about the amount you use and where you store the medicine, and be sure to keep the safety cap on the bottle. The drawback of these medicines is that when they are stopped, the bed-wetting usually returns. They do not cure bed-wetting. Therefore, teenagers using drugs for enuresis should also be using an alarm and learning to get up at night.
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