Bed wetting in boys, medically known as nocturnal enuresis, can be caused by a multitude of issues, most of which have no long-term implications and are not usually indicative of current health problems. While bed wetting is typical for boys up until 7 years of age, it can continue longer. The most common bed wetting causes are genetics, an underdeveloped bladder, deep sleep, and stress. Bed wetting in boys can also be caused by an infection and, in some cases, can be one of the first signs of childhood diabetes.
While many children experience involuntary urination while they are sleeping, this is more common in boys than it is in girls. One of the primary causes of bed wetting in boys is actually genetics. Studies indicate that if both parents wet the bed past the age of 7, their son has an 80% chance of doing the same. Chances of a child wetting the bed are also increased if any close relatives, such as aunts, uncles, or grandparents, did the same.
Children develop at different rates. This often applies to their organs, specifically the bladder. Bed wetting in boys is often caused by a bladder that has yet to fully grow, making it too small to keep up with urine production through the night. This, coupled with underdeveloped nerves in the bladder that makes it difficult for a child to know he needs to urinate, is often the cause for bed wetting in boys. Deep sleeping, which is typical for active young boys, can also be a cause for bed wetting; the child simply cannot wake up despite having the urge to go to the bathroom.
Apart from physical issues, bed wetting in boys can also be caused by emotional issues, specifically stress. While stress itself does not cause a child to wet the bed, the behaviors the child uses to deal with the stress may. This can include eating too many salty foods, drinking too much before bed, or simply forgetting to go to the bathroom before falling asleep. Eating and drinking is a common means for both children and adults to combat stress, and forgetfulness is a typical side effect of stress. All of these elements combined can cause a young boy to wet the bed.
While bed wetting in boys is usually not a medical issue per se, in some cases it can be. A bladder or kidney infection can often cause bed wetting. For some children, bed wetting can also be linked to childhood diabetes. One of the first symptoms of diabetes is frequent urination. Whether or not a child wets a bed, children naturally have less bladder control than an adult. When a child suddenly needs to urinate more often than he is used to, bed wetting can occur.
Bed wetting in boys is relatively common and can usually be managed with help from parents. Limiting fluids before bed and making sure the child goes to the bathroom right before crawling under the covers can significantly reduce the occurrence of involuntary urination. It is also important for parents to understand that bed wetting is rarely, if ever, a sign of laziness or a show of defiance; a young boy typically feels embarrassed by bed wetting and would stop if he could. If a medical issue is suspected, talking with the child’s pediatrician may be beneficial in addressing the problem.