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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

In most children with bedwetting, soaked sheets and wet pajamas are all that parents will see. In rare cases caused by a medical illness, such as urinary tract infection or diabetes, there may be other symptoms. It is especially important to watch for such symptoms in an older child who starts wetting the bed after having been dry in the past:

  • Urinary tract infection If a child's bedwetting is being caused by a urinary tract infection, he or she may urinate more often than normal day and night. The child may complain of an uncomfortable, painful or burning feeling when urinating, and his or her urine may look cloudy or have a very strong odor. Other symptoms may include fever, chills and pain in the back or abdomen.

  • Diabetes This illness affects one out of every 400 to 600 children younger than 16, with many cases beginning around ages 5 to 7 or at the time of puberty.

Typical symptoms include frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate, excessive thirst, being tired all the time, inactivity and weight loss, even though the child may have a healthy appetite and eat a lot.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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