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From Henderson, Nevada, USA:

Our six and a half-year-old son has had diabetes for two and a half years. The problem we are having is chronic bed-wetting, sometimes twice a night. When he was first diagnosed, we thought it was related to high sugar levels since that increases thirst and bathroom visits, however, lately, we have had his blood sugar within normal ranges, 90 mg/dl [5.0 mmol/L] to 210 mmol/L [11.7 mmol/L] at bedtime and breakfast readings. Do children with diabetes usually have bed-wetting issues? Is there something we can do to help it? I heard there was medication for children with bed-wetting problems. Is this true? We are frustrated and it's beginning to affect our son's self esteem.


Bed-wetting can be a troublesome issue for parents. The age at which a child (any child -- even children with diabetes) stays dry at night is widely variable. Some children struggle with this even into their teen years.

There is good evidence that all of the ways parents have tried in the past to fix this problem really have very little effect. It doesn't help to limit fluids in the evenings, punish a child, make them do their own laundry, etc. Medications are of little help in permanently fixing the problem. They can, however, help a child achieve a dry night on a temporary basis for events such as camps and sleep-overs. The medications are not perfect -- and have a high failure rate. There are also retraining methods available called bed-wetting alarms which can also help to fix the problem, but they have a similarly high failure rate. Your pediatrician can best direct you to appropriate bed-wetting alarm resources.

The best option, typically, is to understand that this problem will be fixed when a child outgrows the condition. For parents that are looking for ways to end that early, it is not unreasonable to try a bed-wetting alarm. Although diabetes that is poorly controlled, with frequent high blood sugars, can make this problem worse, it is usually unrelated to chronic bed-wetting in a child that has been previously diagnosed with diabetes.

Please note, however, that new onset bed-wetting can be a sign of diabetes and should be evaluated by a pediatrician promptly if a child that has had dry nights suddenly starts wetting the bed.


Original posting 23 Jan 2007
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:10
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