What’s the difference between primary and secondary bed wetting (also called primary and secondary nocturnal enuresis)?

Primary Nocturnal Enuresis is when a child has never attained bladder control during the night. It is usually regarded as a variation in the development of normal bladder control. If by the age of 5 a child is still wetting the bed at least twice a week then it is considered to have Primary Nocturnal Enuresis.

Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis is used to describe the condition where a child starts to wet the bed after at least 12 months of not wetting the bed. It accounts for around 25% of bed wetting cases and its incidence tends to increase with the age of the child.

In some cases secondary bed wetting may appear following emotional distress e.g. the birth of a new child, moving house, or death of a relative. It is important that any child who experiences a return to bed wetting after a significant period of being dry at night should consult a doctor to rule out the possibility of any underlying medical cause. e.g. urinary tract infection, diabetes, chronic constipation, injury or disease of the nervous system.

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