One in 50 teenagers still wet the bed

May 17, 2006 |

One in 50 teenagers still wet the bed and almost half of 19 year-olds who have the problem are wetting the bed every night, according to research published in the May issue of the urology journal BJUI International.

Professor Chung K Yeung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong teamed up with colleagues from the Prince of Wales Hospital to analyse the results of more than 16,500 questionnaires surveying children aged from five to 19.

He hopes that his findings will reassure parents of children with mild bed wetting problems, but stress the importance of seeking advice in severe cases, which can often be caused by underlying medical problems and continue into adulthood.

512 children – just over three per cent of those surveyed – reported night-time bedwetting and one in five of those also had daytime incontinence. 302 were boys and 210 were girls.

The researchers found that although bed wetting was less common as children got older, the percentage reporting severe problems increased with age.

Children and adolescents who wet the bed at night also showed a similar pattern when it came to daytime incontinence, with a higher percentage of problems reported in older age groups.

When the researchers looked in detail at the 512 children with bed wetting problems they found that:

* Mild bed wetting was much worse among younger children, with 58 per cent of five to ten year-olds and 18 per cent of 11-19 year-olds wetting the bed less than three times a week.

* But older children reported a higher level of severe problems, with 82 per cent of 11-19 year-olds wetting the bed more than three times a week, compared with 42 per cent of five to ten year-olds.

* Just over 16 per cent of five year-olds wet the bed, with boys (21 per cent) having almost twice as many problems as girls (11 per cent).

* By the age of 19, three per cent of boys and two per cent of girls were still wetting the bed.

* Just under a third of 11-19 year-old boys (32 per cent) also experienced daytime incontinence, almost double the 15 per cent recorded in the under ten age group.

* The figures for girls were lower but showed a similar trend, at 25.5 per cent for 11-19 year-olds and 12 per cent for girls under ten.

* Overall, 29 per cent of children aged 11-19 experienced daytime incontinence, compared with 14 cent of under tens.

“Bed wetting showed a general reduction as children got older” says Professor Yeung, who is also President of the International Children’s Continence Society. “However, this reduction was much greater in those with mild symptoms who wet the bed three or less times a week, compared to those with severe problems who were wetting the bed every night.

“Just over 14 per cent of five year-olds who wet the bed did so seven nights a week. By the age of 19, severe bed wetting accounted for over 48 per cent of teenagers who were still wetting the bed.”

21,000 questionnaires were distributed to 67 schools, with a greater emphasis on children over ten, and just under 79 per cent were returned by parents and children.

The average age of respondents was just under 14 and the largest number of responses were from teenagers aged 16-18. 24 per cent of the questionnaires concerned children under ten.

“Our findings challenge the myth that bedwetting will always get better and disappear as the child gets older” says Professor Yeung.

“In 2004 we published findings of a previous study in BJU International that showed that adults showed no significant decrease in bed wetting problems from the age of 10 to 40.

“These latest findings underline the importance of seeking help for children with severe bed wetting problems, especially if they continue into adolescence. If these individuals are left untreated, the evidence suggests that they will continue to experience ongoing problems when they become adults.”

From Blackwell Publishing

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635 Responses to One in 50 teenagers still wet the bed

  1. Kirby March 9, 2014 at 2:50 am #

    Ok, I’m Kirby and I’m 14, I haven’t wet the bed for five years until last night. I don’t know why, but I’ve never had the urge to do that while I was asleep. Thing is, I stayed at my grandparents house. Ive almost wet the bed two night before tonight. I used to wet the bed every other night when I was a kid, and now this is scaring me. Once I do it once, I can’t stop for weeks. Help?

  2. JoyLynn February 28, 2014 at 5:37 am #

    hi,i am 14 and a bedwetter also and i too wear a thick cloth diaper snd plastic pants[rubberpants]to bed at night.i was a flower girl in my neices wedding last october and mom made me wear one of my diapers and rubberpants under my white dress for the whole time.she even put them on me in the dressing room in front of my neice and all the othe girls there.I felt embarrassed walking down the aisle with the diaper and rubberpants under my dress.

  3. AnnaBeth January 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    Hello. Im anna im 17 and have been wetting the bed everynight since I was 15 I also wet sometimes during the day.. my mother keeps me in disposable diapers and plastic pants 24/7 even at school.. what do I do?

  4. paige D. October 3, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    Help! I am 15 and a bedwetter and my parents just switched me from disposable diapers at night to cloth diapers and rubber pants(plastic pants) and i dont like them.the diapers are pinned on me with baby diaper pins and the rubber pants are both pastel and baby prints!i feel like a baby at bedtime with them on and the worst part is the rubber pants are adult size and fit me baggy and crinkle under my night uses baby powder and baby lotion on me when she puts them on me at bedtime and i smell just like a baby also.what can i do?

  5. leanne November 4, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    hi tina,i am 16 and a bedwetter also and i wear a thick cloth diaper and plastic pants to bed mom bought me all baby print plastic pants to wear over my diaper.i have 2 dozen pairs and they all are babyprint and i dont mind wearing them.i have some that are really cute and very babyish,as long as they work and keep my bed dry,thats all that counts.

  6. tina October 2, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    I am a girl 15 and a bedwetter.i wear a thick cloth diaper and adult plastic pants to bed every night.i have at least 3 dozen pairs of plastic pants in pastel colors and my mom just ordered some new ones for me to replace the ones that are wearing out.she ordered some with baby prints on them,telling me that ‘as long as you have to wear a diaper and rubber pants to bed you may as well look cute’.i told her i dont want the baby print kind but she al ready ordered them.should i wear them or not?

  7. Babs4827 September 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    I’m sorry you all are experiencing this horrible problem. My 19 yr old son still wets the bed. Since he now works We are going to purchase the bedwetting alarm in hopes that this will retrain his brain to wake up at night when he starts wetting. we both have our fingers crossed that this will work. As his parent I know this has been very embarrassing for him, I bought him goodnights up until 16 when they no longer fit, I started buying him the “small” of the adult diapers. they are not plastic and they look like underwear. He still puts on his own underwear over them for more support and no leaks.

  8. kaitlyn September 4, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    I need help! i am 16 and a bedwetter like the rest of the people here.i wear a cloth diaper and plastic pants to bed every night. i am being confirmed on sept.23 and have to wear a white formal dress with a veil,gloves,tights and mom told me i am going to wear one of my bedwetting diapers and plastic pants under my tights and is adamant about it.i told her no,but she said i have to. what can i do?

  9. kayla August 1, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    hi,megan,i know how you feel!i am 16 and a bedwetter also and i have to wear cloth diaper and rubber pants to bed every night parents require them for me also.the rubberpants crinkle when i walk and its embarrassing!

  10. megan June 5, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    i am a 16 year old girl and a bedwetter and i have to wear a thick cloth diaper and rubberpants[plastic pants] to bed every diaper is pinned on me with diaper parents told me that cloth diapers and rubberpants are more appropriate for girls than boys and they wont buy me disposables.i know of three other girls my age in this same situation.why do parents feel this way?

  11. nickf May 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    umm….do you guys have the same dream.You know you are wetting,but a beach scene :))

  12. nickf May 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Just one of those things :) Every now and then I ‘wet’ :) I am a guy and it is sort of embassing

  13. nickf May 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    I wet the bed,you are not alone :) i am a guy.It is o.k. just one of things :)

  14. nickf May 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I still wake up ‘wet’.I don’t like it,but you are not alone :)

  15. nickf May 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    You are not alone :) I wet every now and then.

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