Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 2/11/2019

Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) refers to the process of urinating by accident during sleep. Bedwetting is believed to be related to a problem in the brain that prevents recognition of nerve signals sent by the full bladder to the sleep arousal centers of the brain. The reason it occurs is not well understood. Some researchers believe that children with sleep disordered breathing are more likely to wet the bed. It is not considered to be an emotional condition. The medical term for bedwetting is enuresis.

Symptoms of bedwetting include finding urine (pee) in the bed linens upon awakening or waking up as one is beginning to wet the bed. Children with bedwetting do not wake up from sleep when there is a need to urinate.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/11/2019

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