The Cause and Symptoms of Chronic Bedwetting


Bedwetting is a problem which affects over 20 million people in the U.S., and millions more throughout the world. In 99% of all bedwetting cases, the root cause is a genetically-induced sleep disorder. The brain sleeps so deeply that when signaled by the bladder that itʼs full, the brain cannot respond. The bladder empties involuntarily…no control; no awareness.

As a direct result of the bedwetting itself, deficits begin to develop, such as an underdeveloped bladder capacity and a weak and desensitized sphincter muscle. (The sphincter muscle is the muscle that holds the urine inside the bladder). Many children with a bedwetting dilemma suffer from various daytime problems from the bladder and lock muscle issues, such as immediate “urges” to eliminate, having to go to the bathroom frequently, accidents/leaking, and bowel challenges.

Symptoms Produced By the Sleep Disorder

Many children begin to experience a challenge in school caused by unhealthy and compromised quality of sleep. For some, it starts early, and for others it becomes noticeable as the school work becomes more challenging, and in the teen years, after the hormones require more from the brain and body.

Often the symptoms are similar to those associated with ADD/ADHD, such as having a difficult time concentrating, being disruptive in school, unable to sit still, and having trouble completing homework. Actually, many of our patients had been previously and professionally diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, and after our treatment, the symptoms often disappeared. The deep sleep known to cause bedwetting is an oxygen-deprived, unhealthy sleep. It is because of this that many bedwetting children have developed symptoms similar to those of ADD/ADHD. We can make a positive impact here, too!

If you or your child are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, we can
help you:

  • Do you sleep very deeply, almost impossible to awaken?
  • Do you wake up in the morning very slowly, feeling sluggish and/or irritable?
  • Do you wet and also sleepwalk, have night terrors, or been diagnosed with sleep apnea?
  • Do you wet the bed more than eight times a year?
  • Have you been diagnosed with, or suspect that you are, ADD/ADHD?
  • Do other members of your family wet the bed, sleepwalk, have night terrors, or have sleep apnea?
  • Do you experience any daytime problems: frequencies, urgencies, leaking, lack of muscle control, constipation, or bowel urgencies?
  • Are you are dealing with self-esteem issues… feel like a failure, worry about the others finding out?
  • Having trouble in school or on the job; getting tired easily, having trouble focusing, daydreaming, staring into space?

Other Symptoms Can Include:

  • Lethargy or hyperactivity
  • Mood swings, reactions of frustration and anger
  • Forgetfullness
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Lack of dreams

Don’t Let Your Child Wet the Bed Into Teen Years, Says Dr. Lyle Danuloff

Facts About Chronic Bedwetting

  • Bedwetting is caused by a genetically-induced sleep disorder.It is not a healthy or quality pattern of sleep, and bedwetting is a sign of this fact.
  • All bedwetters sleep too deeply for there to be a proper connection between the brain and the bladder, and emptying therefore occurs automatically.
  • 99% of child, adolescent and adult bedwetters have the deep sleep disorder. The disorder is also linked to night terrors and sleepwalking. A deep sleeper can experience all three problems.
  • If a child has not achieved nighttime control by age 4, he/she is likely to have inherited the deep sleep disorder.
  • Chronic bedwetting can only be treated successfully by resolving the underlying sleep disorder and replacing it with a healthy pattern of sleep. Methods such as pads, bells, drugs, rewards, punishment, psychological counseling, waking the child at night and restricting fluids are doomed to fail because they do not address the underlying root cause.
  • Use of alarm devices seems to be the most attempted means to resolve the bedwetting, and yet without proper, specific procedures and guidance, it is also has a high rate of failure.Alarms by themselves have never proven effective to eliminate a deep sleep disorder of this magnitude.
  • Primary bedwetters are those who have wet the bed beyond potty training age, although not necessarily every night.Secondary bedwetters are those who have a history of dry nights until something triggered the deep sleep disorder, causing a sudden onset of the bedwetting.
  • Bedwetters almost always feel some sense of shame, failure, of being “different”, perhaps even persistent anxiety about their problem, often without verbalizing it.
  • All bedwetters –who may also experience daytime control problems– live in the fear of being discovered. Overnight camps and sleepovers are more often agonizing experiences for them.
  • Bedwetters frequently have attention and focusing problems in school due to the poor quality sleep. This can lead to poor grades and more feelings of failure. Many bedwetters present as if they have ADD, resulting in a misdiagnosis and usually a prescription for medication, for what can often be resolved through a correction in their sleep pattern.
  • Untreated childhood bedwetting can continue into adulthood.  Many adult bedwetters have been ”waiting to outgrow it” their entire lives. They continue to experience distress related to the bedwetting, poor quality sleep, and often lead more solitary lives.