Boys, girls, and bedwetting

Despite disagreements among researchers as for the reasons for bedwetting, there is one statistic that is widely accepted: bedwetting is considered to be a more common problem among boys. Two-thirds of bedwetters are boys, while a third are girls.

Although there is a sweeping agreement on the above figure, it is difficult to explain the exact reason for this distribution. Here are a couple of attempts, given by different researchers:

Differences in anatomical structure – in boys, the act of bladder restraint is more complicated. They must use a combination of two sphincters, internal and external, in order to resist wetting. Girls, however, need to operate only one.

Differences in the awakening response – a comprehensive research study, conducted through examining the awakening response of bedwetting boys and girls, showed unequivocally that girls respond better to internal or external stimuli.

Therefore, they can restrain themselves to avoid bedwetting. The study examined the awakening response to a bell device during treatment. The research found that the awakening response of girls was immeasurably better than that of boys.

And how does age effects the differences in bedwetting between boys and girls?

The 2: 1 ratio between girls and boys exists at young ages, usually five to seven. As children get older, the ratio gradually changes and become more and more equal. During adolescence there is almost full equality. However, at older ages of seventeen and up, more than seventy percent of bedwetters are females.

A possible explanation for the age component, is that girls mature faster at a younger age. As age increases, the gap in maturation narrows. No explanation has yet been found for the phenomenon of females who wet significantly more than males at older ages.

It is also possible that female bedwetters also carry an emotional component that affects the continuity of wetting in older ages. This hypothesis has not yet been scientifically proven.

This figure has a great prognostic significance, as far as prediction of the chances of weaning go. A girl who was unable to wean until adolescence, has a significantly lower probability of natural weaning compared to a wetting boy.

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