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Nighttime bedwetting: nocturnal enuresis in children

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Doctors don't always know the exact cause of nocturnal enuresis. They do have some theories, though, on what may contribute to someone developing the condition:

Hormonal problems. A hormone called antidiuretic hormone, or ADH, causes the body to produce less urine at night. But some people's bodies don't make enough ADH, which means their bodies may produce too much urine while they're sleeping.

Bladder problems. In some people with enuresis, too many muscle spasms can prevent the bladder from holding a normal amount of urine.

Some teens and adults also have relatively small bladders that can't hold a large volume of urine.

Teens with enuresis often have a parent who had the same problem at about the same age. Scientists have identified specific genes that cause enuresis.

Sleep problems. Some teens may sleep so deeply that they don't wake up when they need to pee.

Caffeine. Using caffeine causes a person to urinate (pee) more.
Medical conditions.

Medical conditions that can trigger secondary enuresis include diabetes, urinary tract abnormalities (problems with the structure of a person's urinary tract), constipation, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Spinal cord trauma, such as severe stretching of the spinal cord resulting from a fall, sports injury, auto accident, or other event may also play a role in enuresis, although this is rare.

Psychological problems. Some experts believe that stress can be associated with enuresis. It's not uncommon to feel stressed out during the teenage years, and things such as divorce, the death of a friend or family member, a move to a new town and adapting to a new school and social environment, or family tension can feel overwhelming.

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