Bladder & Bowel UK have worked on an awareness campaign this autumn to highlight the issue of childhood enuresis as school returns. Davina Richardson, children’s specialist nurse at Bladder & Bowel UK, talks about the project here.
Bedwetting remains a significant but largely hidden issue for thousands of children and families. It causes distress, anxiety, reduced self-esteem, difficulties in relationships with peers1 and disrupted sleep which impacts on daytime functioning2. The psychosocial impact increases with age. Parents sometimes respond punitively1 and quality of life is recognised as being reduced for the family as well as the child.
Myths around the causes of childhood enuresis
Myths still abound about the causes of bedwetting in children. The assumption that it has a psychological basis compounded by stress remains. More than a decade after publication of NICE Guidance3 callers to the Bladder & Bowel UK helpline continue to report that they have been advised that it is ‘normal’, or that treatment cannot be offered until children are seven years old.
Some families are told it is self-limiting. This is despite research from the Children of the Nineties cohort finding that 41% of children who were wetting the bed at four and a half years old were still wetting when they were nine and a half. Of the latter group, those with non-monosymptomatic enuresis were twenty-three times more likely to be wetting the bed at fourteen years old than those who were dry.4
Popstar Keith Duffy joins the National Bedwetting Day campaign
World Bedwetting Day was introduced in 2015 to raise awareness of enuresis as a treatable medical condition. However, at Bladder & Bowel UK we are aware that bedwetting affects children, young people and families throughout the year. Bladder & Bowel UK were delighted when Keith Duffy, singer from Boyzone and actor, spoke out about his experiences of wetting the bed as a child.
Our specialist children’s nurse described how it was a privilege to join Keith on some radio interviews and live for television on GB News. Keith also spoke eloquently on the subject during the ITN lunchtime news on 14th September and the reach of the campaign was extended by a live feature with Bladder & Bowel UK on Jeremy Vine’s Radio Two show on 15th September.
Raising awareness of childhood enuresis through our work
Bladder & Bowel UK will continue to work on raising awareness of the causes and treatments for bedwetting in children and provide advice and signposting via our helpline and web-based information for families and our involvement with World Bedwetting Day. For healthcare professionals we produce an Enuresis Update electronically with reviews of recent research.
If you would like to receive this then please do email us at email@example.com with your name, job title, place of work and email address.
For those who are working with children who have enuresis there is still time to enter the Bladder & Bowel UK Enuresis Award 2021. View the entry details here.
- Wright A (2019) Nocturnal Enuresis: A comorbid condition Journal de Pediatria https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jped.2018.11.010
- Van Herzeele C et al (2015) Neuropsychological functioning relatedto specific characteristics of nocturnal enuresis Journal of Pediatric Urology 11 208e1 – 208e6
- NICE (2010) Bedwetting in Under 19s https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg111
- Heron J et al ((2017) Trajectories of urinary incontinence in childhood and bladder and bowel symptoms in adolescence: prospective cohort study BMJ Open 2017, 7: e014238