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Health Information For Teens
The medical name for not being able to control your pee is enuresis (pronounced: en-yuh-REE-sis). Sometimes enuresis is also called involuntary urination. Nocturnal enuresis is involuntary urination that happens at night while sleeping, after the age when a person should be able to control his or her bladder. (Involuntary urination that happens during the day is known as diurnal enuresis.)
Most of us think of bedwetting as something that happens with little kids. But this problem affects about 1–2 out of every 100 teens.
There are two kinds of enuresis:
The bladder is a muscular receptacle, or holding container, for pee (urine). It expands (gets bigger) as pee enters and then contracts (gets smaller) to push the pee out.
In a person with normal bladder control:
But people with nocturnal enuresis have a problem that causes them to pee involuntarily at night.
Doctors don’t always know the exact cause of nocturnal enuresis. But they think that these things may play a role:
Doctors don’t know exactly why, but more than twice as many guys as girls have enuresis. It is often seen in combination with ADHD.
If you’re having trouble controlling your urine at night, talk to your doctor to learn more about nocturnal enuresis and to rule out the possibility of a medical problem.
The doctor will do an exam, and ask you about any concerns and symptoms you have, your past health, your family’s health, any medicines you’re taking, any allergies you may have, and other issues. This is called the medical history. He or she may ask about sleep patterns, bowel habits, and urinary symptoms (such as an urge to pee a lot or pain or burning when you pee). Your doctor may also discuss any stressful situations that could be contributing to the problem.
The initial exam will probably include a urinalysis and urine culture. In these tests, urine is examined for signs of disease. Most of the time in people with nocturnal enuresis, these test results come back completely normal.
Doctors can do several things to treat bedwetting, depending on what’s causing it. If an illness is responsible, which is not very common, it will be treated.
If the history and physical exam do not find a medical problem and the urine tests are negative, several behavioral approaches can be used for treatment:
It may help to avoid eating foods that can irritate the bladder. These include coffee, tea, chocolate, and sodas or other carbonated beverages with caffeine.
People who sleep very deeply may need to rely on a parent or other family member to wake them up if they don’t hear the alarm. The key to bedwetting alarms is waking up quickly — the sooner a person wakes up, the more effective the behavior modification for telling the brain to wake up or send the bladder signals to hold the pee until the morning.
If you’re worried about enuresis, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor for ideas on how to cope with it. Your mom or dad can also give you tips on how to cope, especially if he or she had the problem as a teen.
The good news is that it’s likely that bedwetting will go away on its own.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common reasons that teens visit a doctor. Learn about the symptoms of UTIs, how they’re treated, and more in this article.
Find out what the experts have to say!
The kidneys perform several functions that are essential to health, the most important of which are to filter blood and produce urine.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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