Bedwetting and Soiling Disorders
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The Bedwetting and Soiling Disorders include Enuresis and Encopresis, where children, adolescents, and – rarely – adults have trouble controlling their bladder or bowel movements.
What are Bedwetting and Soiling Disorders?
People with Enuresis (bedwetting) deal with repeated urination into a bed or their clothing multiple times a week for several months. Similarly, those with Encopresis have bowel movements into a bed or clothing at least one time per month. Enuresis usually happens at night, while Encopresis more commonly occurs during the day.
Although the causes of these disorders are very different, their effects are the same. Lack of bowel and bladder control is very stressful for both individuals and their families. They disrupt kids’ home, school, and social lives, preventing sleep-overs and causing embarrassment in front of others. Children often feel isolated and ashamed, and teasing from siblings and peers doesn’t help.
Who gets Bedwetting and Soiling Disorders?
The vast majority of people with these disorders are young children, and only less than 1% of cases last into adulthood. Kids must be at least 5 years old to be diagnosed with Enuresis and 4 years old for Encopresis.
Both of these disorders stem from issues around kids learning to manage their own bathroom schedules. For bedwetting, this usually means they don’t urinate enough before bedtime and are often drinking too many fluids late in the day. Encopresis is actually related to long-lasting constipation, which can come from a wide array of medical or psychological issues.
Although it is quite rare, some children do soil themselves on purpose as part of a problem with emotion and behavior control. It becomes an unhealthy way for kids to communicate their anger and frustration to their parents. In these cases, it is not the main problems but rather part of a much bigger issue.