Bed-wetting is a normal condition for children growing up. Statistics show that 20% of children aged five still wet their beds. However, most children eventually stop on their own. Unfortunately, some children continue bedwetting even in their teenage years. This accounts for about 3% of those who grew up with bedwetting. The effects of the problem at this age are far-reaching and warrant special attention.

Since bedwetting is a serious concern among mid and late adolescents, it’s essential to evaluate the causes and management of the condition. Here are some of the significant causes of bed wetting in teenage life.

Sleeping deeply

Unfortunately, some teenagers don’t have a strong operational wake-up trigger system. As a result, the body’s ability to wake up from sleep due to the urge to empty the bladder is dampened, leading to bedwetting. Inversely, adults have a stronger wake-up trigger system hence the low prevalence of bedwetting. 

Heavy daily tasks cause deep sleep, which precipitates bedwetting. Therefore, avoiding heavy activities towards the end of the day and taking naps can serve as a solution.

Small bladder

The human body has various systems for executing efficient physiological processes. Sadly, some components vary among individuals. For example, some teenagers in the early stages of adolescence have a small bladder and, as a result, develop a high risk of bed wetting. Nonetheless, the insufficiency of space in the bladder resolves as growth continues through the adolescent period.


Human behaviour has some genetic influence. Statistically, around 70% of parents’ behaviours in their adolescence can be passed down to their children. Bedwetting is no different. Therefore, a teenager could suffer bedwetting if both parents had the same problem.

Emotional or social factors

Emotional and psychological stress are the common culprits in secondary enuresis. Secondary enuresis describes teenagers who develop bedwetting after living through years of dry sheets. Some of the common stressors found as the cause of the problem include; change of schools, change of houses, divorce, and abuse. Secondary enuresis requires professional input to manage.


The rectum is close to the bladder, which has high sensitive stretch muscles. Therefore, a full bowel can exert pressure on the bladder and cause bedwetting.

Additionally, neurological or other medical conditions like urinary tract infections can cause bedwetting in the teenage years. Nonetheless, management options are available. For example:

Bedwetting alarms

The brain can adapt promptly to sensory patterns. As a result, alarms are used to reinforce wake-up signals from the urge to urinate. Notably, these alarms are connected to a wetness sensor in a child’s underwear. Initially, the purpose of the alarm is to draw sesnory attention to urination while the child is asleep. Over time, the child adapts to waking up to urge signals as the brain works out a pattern to reinforce the wake-up trigger system.

Limiting fluids at night

Physiological processes don’t stop at night, and therefore, the kidneys continue to make urine as you sleep. A shift in limiting fluid intake at night may reduce the chances of bed wetting. Nonetheless, it’s essential to meet the daily fluid requirements despite night-time limitations.


An open and honest conversation with a child may reveal stressors responsible for secondary enuresis. Teenagers are known to conceal critical details about their life out of fear or embarrassment. Therefore open channels of communication are important. Sometimes, it’s necessary to seek professional help for psychological counselling and behavioural therapy.

In conclusion, following the suitable approaches to manage and treat bedwetting in teenagers is crucial. Various equipment such as pull-ups, washable protectors, disposable underpads, and slips or nappies help mitigate the situation. However, professional consults remain the hallmark of management.

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