Medical terms for bed-wetting

Terms you may hear used for different types of bed-wetting include:

  • Enuresis, which is the lack of control over the voiding of urine beyond the age at which control is normally achieved, usually 5 or 6.
  • Nocturnal enuresis, which means bed-wetting, or the accidental voiding of urine during sleep.
  • Primary nocturnal enuresis, which is accidental bed-wetting by a child who has never had bladder control for 3 months in a row.
  • Secondary nocturnal enuresis, which is accidental bed-wetting by a child after he or she has been dry for a period of time. This may indicate emotional stress, a medical problem such as a kidney or bladder infection, or a birth defect that affects the urinary tract.
  • Monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis, which is bed-wetting in the absence of any other symptoms. This accounts for 80% to 85% of nocturnal enuresis cases.
  • Polysymptomatic nocturnal enuresis, which is bed-wetting associated with other bladder symptoms, such as back or belly pain, fever, cloudy or pink urine, increased urgency and frequency of urination, or crying or complaining when urinating.
  • Diurnal enuresis, which is accidental voiding of urine while awake.

Last Updated: November 12, 2008

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