Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

There has been no changes or anything in her life that explain it. She has gone from waking up and going to not even waking up after she has the accidents.

Dear Sarah, while it is not unusual for children to waiver between periods of dryness then return to bedwetting, it is always important to have any sudden return to nighttime wetting investigated. The type of bedwetting your daughter is experiencing is referred to as secondary bedwetting; this simply describes bedwetting that occurs among children who have been dry for a period of 6 months or more. Secondary bedwetting can be particularly frustrating for parents as just as you think you’ve left all this behind you, there it is again!! Secondary bedwetting appears to have two main causes: physical and psychological. Physical or medical causes can include such things as juvenile diabetes, urinary tract infections or chronic constipation. While physical causes of secondary bedwetting are rare, it is always important to rule these out first. The majority of secondary bedwetting results from emotional problems or psychological stress. All children react differently to stress. Signs of stress include physical symptoms such as ongoing headaches and stomach aches, vomiting as well as nighttime or daytime wetting. Common psychological stressors for younge children include the birth of a sibling, starting pre-school or school, hospitalization or moving house. Stress does not always result from a negative experience, with some children experiencing stress when they are overwhelmed or over-excited by new situations. Sometimes young children wet the bed out of fear; with fear of the dark being one of the most common fears of young children. It is probably worth checking if this is an issue, with a simple night light possibly making the difference. Typically the management of secondary nocturnal enuresis involves addressing the underlying cause. If there are no apparent ongoing psychological issues then the treatment options are the same as those recommend for children experiencing primary bedwetting. In the meantime, reassure her that none of this is her fault and ensure that she feels loved and special. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine