Biology & Medicine

Website helps doctors diagnose and treat bedwetting

Elsevier’s free Bedwetting Resource Centre provides research, guidance and tools

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Dr. Guy Bogaert, Editor of Elsevier’s Bedwetting Resource Centre, looks at the problem of bedwetting, what clinicians need in order to treat it and how this resource can help them.

Guy Bogaert, MD, PhDBedwetting has a big impact on hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide. But it can be treated, and Elsevier’s Bedwetting Resource Centre aims to give clinicians the latest top research on the topic, along with guidelines, lectures and practical tools, to help them tackle the condition.

Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, is a medical condition that affects not only children but adolescents and adults. It is the uncontrollable leakage of urine while sleeping in people age 5 and over. It’s a common condition that affects up to 10 percent of 7-year-olds, potentially causing problems into adulthood.

There is no psychological cause behind bedwetting; in most people with the condition it is cause by an overproduction of urine at night, or because the bladder has a reduced capacity. Although its cause isn’t psychological, bedwetting can have significant self-esteem and emotional impacts.

Diagnosing and treating bedwetting

For doctors, one of the first things to determine when diagnosing a child who wets the bed is whether the bedwetting is accompanied by daytime symptoms. In most cases, bedwetting that occurs only at night runs in the family.

Bedwetting is a medical condition with physical causes that doctors can diagnose and treat, including by looking at what’s going on inside the body with a urography scan.With a history of the patient and an examination, doctors can diagnose bedwetting accurately. For about 15 percent of patients, the bedwetting will resolve itself. However, for the majority of patients, the condition is treated by changing their drinking habits, replacing a hormone that reduces urine production (desmopressin) or taking a nighttime medication. Urination or enuresis alarms can also be used to wake the patient and prevent bedwetting.

These treatments may be effective, but they are not "easy fixes." For urologists, treating bedwetting requires a different approach than other urological conditions. It's important to involve the patient and his or her family in discussions and decisions about treatment. Bedwetting can have a significant impact on quality of life – for patients and their families – and involvement in treatment is a good predictor that the treatment will be successful.

Elsevier’s Bedwetting Resource Centre

Urologists and other clinicians need the knowledge, tools and resources to keep up-to-date with the best diagnosis and treatment approaches for tackling bedwetting. The Bedwetting Resource Centre, made possible by an educational grant from Ferring, gives clinicians the support they need to help bedwetting patients.

The site, which is free to access, has a section for the latest and best research, which I select from a range of journals. Topics include:

  • Treatments like desmopressin and alarm treatment
  • Quality of life and secondary effects on the patient and family
  • The impact of bedwetting on sleep
  • Bedwetting and the brain.

I select the research and comment on each article explaining its significance. The Resource Centre also has presentation slides on different topics and a video channel with lectures and interviews.

Practical resources also help clinicians diagnose and treat bedwetting. The Guidelines section links to guidance for managing bedwetting, and the Clinical Management Tool (CMT) gives doctors a simple framework for diagnosing bedwetting. Developed by the Working Group of Nocturnal Enuresis Belgium (which has websites in Dutch and French), the CMT is a scorecard designed to help doctors determine whether bedwetting occurs only at night. It takes about five minutes for the patient or his or her parents to complete and makes diagnosis much easier.

With the Resource Centre, we aim to tackle bedwetting by arming clinicians with the latest peer-reviewed research, tools and guidance for diagnosing and treating the condition. You can get the latest research on bedwetting by signing up for free E-Alerts from the Resource Centre or following it on Twitter.

Features of the Bedwetting Resource Centre

  • Guidelines – the latest guidance for managing bedwetting
  • Publications – curated and commented on by the Editor
  • Slides – presentations on a variety of topics
  • Video Channel – a selection of lectures and videos
  • Clinical Management Tool – a simple tool to help doctors diagnose bedwetting
  • Congress Planner – a calendar of upcoming urology conferences

Bedwetting logo 

The Resource Centre’s best-read article on bedwetting

For World Bedwetting Day, the Bedwetting Resource Centre shared its best-read article on social media. Here is a summary, with a comment from the Editor.

Jonathan Kushnir et al: “Night diapers use and sleep in children with enuresis,” Sleep Medicine (July 2013)

“This is a very interesting study looking at the sleep pattern of children with nocturnal enuresis wearing a diaper or not during the night … Children with nocturnal enuresis, wearing diapers and control children showed no differences in sleep measures. The authors therefore recommend children with nocturnal enuresis to sleep wearing diapers, based on the positive impact on the sleep.”

Read the article and Editor’s full comment.


Elsevier Connect Contributor

Dr. Guy Bogaert is University Professor - Urology and Chief of Paediatric Urology at the University of Leuven (KUL) in Leuven, Belgium. He is also Medical Manager-Medical Director of the Ambulatory Surgery Center at University Hospitals Gasthuisberg in Leuven. As Editor of Elsevier’s Bedwetting Resource Centre, he selects the research for the platform and puts it into context with his Editor's comments.

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