Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis) | Diagnosis & Treatments

How is nocturnal enuresis diagnosed?

If your child is 6 years of age or older, it's a good idea to set up a consultation with a pediatric urologist.

This can be important to help tailor therapy and ensure that there are no medical problems that may be contributing to or causing the nighttime wetting, such as bladder instability (unwanted bladder contractions) or posterior urethral valves (a congenital condition in boys in which the tube that carries urine out of the body has excess flaps of tissue). For this reason, a careful history of your child's complete voiding habits and bowel habits will be important.

Here are some additional studies that your doctor may recommend:

  • Renal bladder ultrasound — This imaging examination is used to determine the size and shape of your child's kidney and bladder, and to detect a mass, stone, cyst, or other obstruction or abnormalities.
  • Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) — An x-ray exam performed while a catheter is inserted into the urinary tract, used to see if there is any reverse flow of urine into the ureters and kidneys. Read more about VCUG in girls and boys.
  • Urodynamics study — a test used to assess how the bladder and urethral sphincter function during the stages of bladder filling and emptying. The bladder is catheterized and filled slowly with a warm saltwater solution.

What are the treatments for bedwetting?

Keep in mind that in most cases, bedwetting resolves itself without specific treatment. Sometimes simple measures, such as sticker charts or an alarm to wake your child if wetting is happening, can be helpful. Bedwetting is not harmful to your child in any way other than its impact on self-esteem.

If your child is embarrassed to attend camp or a sleepover, you may want to talk with your pediatric urologist about some of the following therapies:

  • behavior modification (for example, no fluids after 6 p.m.)
  • conditioning therapy
  • drug therapy that includes DDAVP, which replaces the natural hormone vasopressin
  • psychotherapy

For more information: