New recommendations say children will outgrow bedwetting

January 5, 2006

If bedwetting does not upset a child, treatment probably isn't necessary, and the child will outgrow it, according to a new position statement from the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS).

If bedwetting does not upset a child, treatment probably isn't necessary, and the child will outgrow it, according to a new position statement from the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS).

"In general, bedwetting does not stem from a medical, psychological, or emotional problem," said Mark Feldman, MD, a Toronto pediatrician and principal author of the statement. "But it can become a problem if parents, children, or physicians allow themselves to be bothered by it."

The cause is most likely related to deep sleep, and the following options are available if the condition is causing emotional distress:

  • Alarm devices have been found to be the most effective intervention, even though they only "cure" the problem just under half the time. They are most appropriate for older children with supportive families for whom simpler measures are unsuccessful.

  • Oral or nasal desmopressin (DDAVP) has been shown to be efficacious in some children, and the CPS recommends it as a short-term treatment.

Behavioral therapy is not recommended. The revised CPS position statement is published in Paediatrics & Child Health (2005; 10:611-4).