Treatment options for bedwetting 

Treatment
Pros
Cons

Useful links

 

 

Self help

Self-help techniques such as monitoring fluid intake, avoiding caffeine in the evening and encouraging regular toilet breaks

  • Can help improve bedwetting in some cases
  • Not associated with any side effects
  • Younger children may find it hard to stick to restricted fluid intake
  • Self-help techniques alone are often not enough to completely prevent bedwetting
Bedwetting alarm

A moisture sensitive alarm is attached to the pyjamas and goes off if the child begins to wet the bed

  • Has proven to be effective in promoting long-term dryness in the majority of children
  • Can take several weeks before taking effect
  • Not prescribed on the NHS, so may have to be bought privately for £40 to £140
  • May not be suitable if a child shares a bedroom or a short-term solution is needed

Medication

Desmopressin

Medication that reduces the amount of urine produced by the kidneys

  • Can often provide a rapid relief from symptoms which can help in certain situations, such as if your child was going on a school trip
  • Can be used as a long-term treatment for bedwetting in cases where a bedwetting alarm is unsuitable or ineffective
  • Is less likely to cause side effects than other medications used to treat bedwetting
  • Children will need to restrict the fluids they drink at night time as it can lead to a fluid overload which can lead to headache and vomiting
  • May not address underlying causes of bedwetting, such as reduced bladder capacity
Oxybutynin

Medication that relaxes the muscles of the bladder which can help increase bladder capacity

  • Often effective when used in combination with desmopressin
  • Side effects for the first few days include feeling sick, being sick, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation or diarrhoea
  • May not address the underlying causes of bedwetting
Imipramine

Like oxybutynin, it relaxes the muscles of the bladder to increase bladder capacity

  • Often succeeds in stopping bedwetting in cases where other treatments have proved unsuccessful
  • Side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, increased appetite, feeling sick – although these should improve with time
  • Suddenly stopping taking the medication can trigger withdrawal symptoms, so the dosage needs to be reduced gradually
  • May not address underlying causes of bedwetting