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Ask the Expert: My son still wets the bed at age seven

Bedwetting can be caused by an inability to wake to full-bladder signals

Q: "MY SEVEN-year-old son still wets the bed, and now he's getting invitations to sleepovers and is embarrassed because of his bedwetting. What's the best way to tackle it, and shouldn't he have grown out of this by now?"

A: Sharron Gibson, helpline coordinator for ERIC, the children's bowel and bladder charity, says: "Bedwetting is very common at your son's age – about 15.5 per cent of seven-year-olds wet the bed. It's part of some children's normal development to take longer to get dry at night.

"Bedwetting has many causes, so there's no single best way to tackle it. However, it's considered a medical condition in children over five and there are several ways it can be treated.

"Firstly, your son should be seen by a health professional, such as your GP, who can find out the cause and recommend treatment.

"Bedwetting can be caused by too much urine being made at night, a small bladder that can't hold on to the urine, and an inability to wake to full bladder signals. Constipation can also cause bedwetting, as a full bowel pushes against the bladder and stops it stretching to capacity.

"Many parents think children who wet the bed drink too much, so they limit their drinks, but in fact not drinking enough can cause bedwetting. A child who doesn't drink enough doesn't give their bladder a chance to learn how to stretch fully and empty several times during the day. This means the bladder can't stretch to hold the wee produced at night.

"Check how much your son's drinking; he should have six to eight glasses of water-based fluid daily and should have his last drink about an hour before bed."

:: For more information about bedwetting, visit www.eric.org.uk or contact ERIC's helpline on 0845 370 8008.

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