Imagine waking up every morning with wet pyjamas and wet sheets, having to strip and make your bed every day, trying to hide your secret from friends, and feeling like you are the only person who wets the bed. There are up to 500,000 children and teenagers in the UK who regularly feel like this.

The first ever World Bedwetting Day on 17th October 2015 aims to help them and their families put a stop to bedwetting.

Children who suffer from bedwetting often feel a sense of shame, frequently isolating themselves and missing out on social activities (2, 3, 4, 6). Their self-esteem, emotional well-being and school and social performance can be affected (2, 3, 4), but the impact of bedwetting is often underestimated and trivialised.

Bedwetting is nobody’s fault. In most cases it is caused by over-production of urine at night or reduced capacity of the bladder to hold urine. The lack of understanding of the condition means its causes are not always recognised and parents do not always seek help with their child’s bedwetting.

Nearly half of parents with children aged five years or older who wet the bed do not seek help, believing the child will outgrow the problem. However, bedwetting will not necessarily go away by itself, and safe and effective treatments are available.

World Bedwetting Day aims to increase awareness of how common the condition is and of the treatment available. It is hoped that children, teenagers and parents will be encouraged to seek the help they need.

"Bedwetting is nobody’s fault,” said Brenda Cheer, the ERIC nurse and a children's continence specialist, "It is a common medical condition that families and doctors should be able to discuss without embarrassment or guilt. World Bedwetting Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of bedwetting in the UK so that children and families can get the help they deserve.”

World Bedwetting Day’s slogan is ‘Time to Take Action’, in recognition that much more can be done to diagnose and treat children with this common medical condition.

ERIC is offering many ways for parents, carers, and health and education professionals to help raise awareness of bedwetting in the run up to World Bedwetting Day on 17th October. 

Dr Barbara Steele, Clinical Lead, Community Continence Service, at Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital and member of ERIC’s Professional Advisory Committee said "Bedwetting has a major impact on the lives of children and their families. Children may feel embarrassed or guilty about the wetting. They may have low self-esteem and be reluctant to go on sleepovers or school trips. Parents sometimes blame children and feel that they are lazy or naughty. World Bedwetting Day is an exciting initiative that I am thrilled to be involved with as it will lead to greater understanding of the condition and will ensure more children get the treatment they need.”

"Bedwetting continues to be a major source of concern for children and their families", said Dr Chinnaiah Yemula, Clinical Lead and Consultant Community Paediatrician in Bedford, "Most parents and carers are often unaware of the reasons why their child wets the bed and this can potentially lead to negative feelings and emotional stress. It is important to raise awareness that it is not the child’s fault and that bedwetting is a common condition which can be treated.

"I do feel as health professionals, we need to liaise with ERIC, the children’s continence charity and work closely in partnership with children and families, in order to make a positive impact on their lives.

"Helping to bring a smile to a child’s face after becoming dry has been an incredibly rewarding experience in our bedwetting clinics. I look forward to World Bedwetting Day with joy, hope and excitement. I believe this renewed awareness will give rise to a change in attitudes and encourage people to seek timely medical advice and treatment."

World Bedwetting Day is an initiative led by the International Children’s Continence Society (ICCS) and the European Society for Paediatric Urology (ESPU). It will be officially launched on 17th October 2015 at the 26th ESPU Congress in Prague. It is being promoted in the UK by ERIC, the children’s continence charity.

References

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4.Vande Walle J et al, Erratum to: Practical consensus guidelines for the management of enuresis. Eur J Pediatr 2012;171:971-983

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10.Lottmann H, Baydala L, Eggert P, Klein BM, Evans J, Norgaard JP. Long-term desmopressin response in primary nocturnal enuresis, Int J Clin Pract. 2009;63(1):35-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01956.x.

11.DRIP-UK study Evans J, Malmsten B, Maddocks A, Popli HS, Lottmann H; on behalf of the UK study group. Randomized comparison of long-term desmopressin and alarm treatment for bedwetting. J Pediatr Urol. 2011; 7: 21-29.

12.Austin P et al. The Standardization of Terminology of Lower Urinary Tract Function in Children and Adolescents: Update Report from the Standardization Committee of the International Children’s Continence Society, The Journal of Urology. 2014;191:1863-1865

13.Nevéus T. Nocturnal enuresis—theoretic background and practical guidelines. Pediatr Nephrol. 2011; 26:1207–1214