Enuresis, also known as bedwetting, can be subdivided into two different categories, primary enuresis and secondary enuresis. Primary enuresis is consistent, repetitive bedwetting, while secondary enuresis refers to children who wet the bed after a period of up to six months without doing so. Psychological problems are not normally the cause of the bedwetting, but can instead be a result of the condition itself. There are no racial factors that contribute to a predisposition towards enuresis. However, boys are generally more susceptible to enuresis than girls. Cases of secondary enuresis account for about one quarter of all occurrences of enuresis.
For the most part, night dryness occurs after daytime continence is successfully achieved. Children generally start to gain full control of their bladder functions in the second year of their lives. Normally, children aged four years old should have developed the ability to control their external urethral sphincter and initiate voiding. By the age of two, around ten per cent of children are completely dry at night, while by the age of three, this figure will stand at seventy eight per cent. Just five to ten per cent of children aged seven years old are found to wet the bed. Less than five per cent of children still wet the bed by the time they are ten years old. Very few people suffer from the condition in their teenage years.
Enuresis can occur as part of some genetic predisposition. If other family members have suffered from the condition, then a child will be more likely to be susceptible to enuresis. If a child has one or more parent who has suffered from enuresis, then the child is more likely to wet the bed. In children whose parents both suffered from enuresis, the figure for bed wetting is about seventy seven per cent. About half of children who suffer from secondary enuresis are found to have a family history of the condition.
In some rare cases, bedwetting has led to abuse towards children by parents and other caregivers. There have been documented cases of children being fatally abused as a result of stress placed upon parents or caregivers by the child’s bedwetting. Enuresis has been found to be the trigger in several abuse cases. Enuresis has also been found to be at the root of familial stress, in some cases. Sometimes, perineal, genital, and lower abdominal rash can also occur due to this condition.