Bedwetting epidemiology and demographics

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Editor(s)-in-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S.,M.D. [1] Phone:617-632-7753; Steven C. Campbell, M.D., Ph.D., [2] Phone:216-444-5595 Professor of Surgery, Residency Program Director, Section of Urologic Oncology, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic.


Bedwetting is the most common childhood urologic complaint [1] and one of the most common pediatric-health issues.[2] Most bedwetting, however, is just a developmental delay—not an emotional problem or physical illness. Only a small percentage (5% to 10%) of bedwetting cases are caused by specific medical situations.[3] Bedwetting is frequently associated with a family history of the condition.[4] Most girls can stay dry by age six and most boys stay dry by age seven. By ten years old, 95% of children are dry at night. Studies place adult bedwetting rates at between 0.5% to 2.3%.[5]

Epidemiology and Demographics

Males are more likely to wet the bed than females. Males make up 60% of bed-wetters overall and make up more than 90% of those who wet nightly (Schmitt, 1997).

Doctors frequently consider bedwetting as a self-limiting problem, since most children will grow out of it.

Approximate bedwetting rates are:

  • Age 5: 20%
  • Age 6: 10 to 15%
  • Age 7: 7%
  • Age 10: 5%
  • Age 15: 1-2%
  • Age 18-64: 0.5%-1% [3]

Children 5 to 9 years old have a spontaneous cure rate of 14% per year. Adolescents 10 to 18 years old have a spontaneous cure rate of 16% per year.

As can be seen from the numbers above, 5% to 10% of bedwetting children will not outgrow the problem, leaving 0.5% to 1% of adults still dealing with bedwetting. [4]Individuals who are still enuretic at age 18 are likely to deal with bedwetting throughout their lives. Adult rates of bedwetting show little change due to spontaneous cure. [5]

Studies of bedwetting in adults have found varying rates. The most-quoted study in this area was done in the Netherlands. It found a 0.5% rate for 18-64 year olds. A Hong Kong study, however, found a much higher rate. The Hong Kong researchers found a bedwetting rate of 2.3% in 16 to 40 year olds. [6]


  1. Reynoso Paredes, MD, Potenciano. "Case Based Pediatrics For Medical Students and Residents". Department of Pediatrics, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  2. "Nocturnal Enuresis". UCLA Urology. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  3. Johnson, Mary. "Nocturnal Enuresis". Archived from the original on 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  4. "Bedwetting". The Royal Childrens Hospital Melbourne. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  5. "Pediatrics". Retrieved 2008-02-02. Text " Paediatrics " ignored (help); Text " Pediatric Education " ignored (help); Text " Paediatric Education -" ignored (help)

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