What is enuresis?

Jump to

Enuresis: Overview

Enuresis (say "en-yuh-REE-sus") is accidental wetting (day or night) that happens after someone is normally expected to have bladder control. This problem can run in families. It can be caused by low levels of a hormone that helps the body make less urine when you sleep. In some cases, enuresis is caused by a physical problem, like a small bladder.

Enuresis can be treated with medicine, special training, or both. If medicine works for you, it is best to use it along with a plan that trains your mind and body to be dry at night. Over time, your goal is to stop taking the medicine.

If you have tried treatment before but still are not dry every night, give it another try. Set your goal, follow your plan, and keep track of your progress. Reward yourself for successes. Be patient. The body and mind need time to learn a new habit.

How can you care for yourself when you have enuresis?

  • Use a moisture alarm. When it sounds or vibrates at night, get up and empty your bladder right away. Use the alarm every night until you have been dry for 3 months. By then, your body will be much better trained to stay dry at night.
  • Be a record-keeper. Keep a calendar or diary of your wet and dry nights, what helps, and what does not.
  • Reward yourself for success. Write down your first goal for success, such as "Be dry for 2 nights in a week." Write down how you will reward yourself when you have reached your goal. When you do reach your goal, make a new goal, such as "Be dry for 3 nights in a week."
  • Be prepared for setbacks. If you have a wet night or two, get right back on your training plan.
  • If your doctor has prescribed medicine, take it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Do not drink a lot of fluids in the evening. Empty your bladder right before you go to bed.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.