Could your child’s bed wetting be caused by constipation?

New study finds that many children who wet the bed are constipated but don’t realise


Undiagnosed constipation could be why your child wets the bed, says new research.


In a study of 30 children between the ages of 5 and 15 being treated for bed wetting, all shared signs of constipation on x-ray despite most having normal toilet habits. After being treated for constipation with laxative therapy, 25 of the children (85%), were cured of bed wetting.

“Having too much stool in the rectum reduces bladder capacity,” said Steve J. Hodges, MD, assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in the US.

“Our study showed that a large percentage of these children were cured of nighttime wetting after laxative therapy. Parents try all sorts of things to treat bedwetting – from alarms to restricting liquids. In many children, the reason they don’t work is that constipation is the problem,” Steve explained.

Despite the link between constipation and bed wetting being first reported in 1986, there’s been no change in medical practice. Steve believes this is because not everyone understands what constipation really is.

“The definition for constipation is confusing and children and their parents aren’t aware the child is constipated,” said Steve.

“In our study, X-rays revealed that all the children had excess stool in their rectums that could interfere with normal bladder function. However only three of the children described bowel habits consistent with constipation,” Steve explained.

The researchers also made clear that despite the results of the study, some of the 30 cases involved could have improved over time on their own.

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