Children's Health

This article is from the WebMD News Archive

Study: Constipation May Cause Bed-wetting

boy sleeping

Jan. 30, 2012 -- A surprising new study suggests that for many children who wet the bed, the cause may start with their bowels and not their bladders.

Undiagnosed constipation appeared to be a frequent contributor to bed-wetting among the children who took part in the research.

When these children were treated with laxatives or enemas, most stopped wetting the bed within a few months.

“Most of these kids did not have symptoms consistent with constipation and the parents had no clue,” says researcher Steve J. Hodges, MD, an assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. “What these children had was stool in their rectums, and that is the problem we addressed in this study.”

Bed-wetting and the Bowels

Hodges says stool left in the lower intestine, or rectum, can push against the bladder and reduce its capacity to hold urine.

He says even though it has been known for more than two decades that this might be a cause of bed-wetting, few doctors consider this when evaluating children with the condition.

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