In October 2010, NICE published a clinical guideline to support practitioners in the assessment and treatment of nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting). Bedwetting is a common childhood condition, which can cause distress for children and their families.
Although the prevalence of bedweeting decreases with age, if children have severe bedwetting (wetting every night) it is less likely to resolve spontaneously. It is important, therefore, that experienced practitioners offer children and their families an accurate and informed assessment that leads to an individualised management plan and effective treatment.
Bedwetting can affect a child's emotional wellbeing and can have an impact on self-esteem; not only does it affect the child but the whole family may struggle to deal with the impact of the problem.
For the purpose of the guideline bedwetting is described as the symptom of involuntary wetting during sleep without any inherent suggestion of frequency or pathology.1 The prevalence of bedwetting has been reported as follows: fewer than two nights per week occurs in 21 per cent of children at 4.5 years of age and 8 per cent at 9.5 years of age; more frequent bedwetting occurs in 8 per cent at 4.5 years of age and 1.5 per cent at 9.5 years of age.2