Bedwetting More Common in Boys Than Girls, Study Shows

Filed under: In The News, Potty Training, Development: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Development: Big Kids

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Boys are twice as likely to wet the bed. Credit: Getty Images

Bedwetting is one of those anxiety-producing, embarrassing situations most kids and parents just don't want to talk about.

But, if you've got a son in grade school, you might want to make sure the Spider-Man, Star Wars or shark sheet ensembles are waterproof.

Doctors don't know for sure what causes bedwetting -- or why it stops -- but new findings suggest boys are twice as likely to wet the bed, Reuters reports.

In a study of 6,147 children in Hong Kong, researchers from the Prince of Wales Hospital at the Chinese University of Hong Kong found seven out of 100 boys, and three out of 100 girls, ages 6 to 11 wet their beds, averaging out to five in 100 kids, according to the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

But wetting the bed is nothing to be embarrassed about and usually stops by age 15, Reuters reports.

In four out of 10 cases, bedwetting is hereditary, Dr. Joseph Barone, pediatric urologist at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., tells Reuters.

The reason boys wet the bed more often, he tells the news service, is because sometimes the link between the bladder and the brain is not fully developed. Girls mature faster, so they outgrow bedwetting faster, he adds.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers found bedwetting decreased with age. Nine out of 100 6-year-olds wet their beds, versus two out of 100 11-year-olds, according to Reuters.

Though there are no fool-proof cures for bedwetting, Barone recommends using an alarm that is connected to a sensor in a child's underwear, which goes off when it gets wet. These cost $50 to $150 and work 80 to 90 percent of the time, he tells Reuters.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a bedwetting alarm if prescribed by the child's physician and says they tend to be most helpful for kids who have some dry nights and some bladder control on their own.

"Nothing else is going to cure bedwetting, other than outgrowing it," Barone tells Reuters.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.