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How Gut Health and the Microbiome Contribute to Bed Wetting in Children

How Gut Health and the Microbiome Contribute to Bed Wetting in Children

Bed wetting, or nocturnal enuresis, is a common issue among young children. While it is often attributed to behavioural or developmental factors, emerging research shows that gut health and the microbiome play a significant role.  Most importantly addressing this underlying cause provides us with a safe and effective way of addressing bedwetting in young children. 


Understanding the Microbiome

The human microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms residing in our bodies, primarily in the gut. These microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, play a crucial role in maintaining our health by aiding digestion, regulating the immune system, and even influencing behaviour and mood.


The Gut-Brain Axis

One of the key pathways through which the microbiome can influence bed wetting is the gut-brain axis. This bidirectional communication system links the gut and the brain, allowing them to influence each other's function. Disruptions in the gut microbiome can lead to alterations in brain function and behaviour, which may contribute to bed wetting.


Gut Health and Sleep

Sleep disturbances are often associated with bed wetting. Research has shown that gut health can significantly impact sleep quality. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry found that gut dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut microbiome, can disrupt sleep patterns by influencing the production of sleep-related hormones like melatonin and serotonin . Poor sleep quality can, in turn, contribute to bed wetting.


Inflammation and Bed Wetting

Inflammation is another pathway through which gut health can affect bed wetting. An imbalanced gut microbiome can lead to chronic low-grade inflammation, which has been linked to various health issues, including bed wetting. A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Urology suggested that inflammatory cytokines might affect bladder function and contribute to enuresis in children.


Gut Microbiome and Bladder Function

The gut microbiome can also influence bladder function directly. Some studies have indicated that certain gut bacteria can produce compounds that affect bladder contractions and urine production. For example, a study in Pediatric Research found that children with enuresis had different gut microbiome profiles compared to those without the condition, suggesting a potential link between microbiome composition and bladder control.


Constipation and Bed Wetting

When a child is constipated, the buildup of stool in the colon can exert pressure on the bladder, reducing its capacity to hold urine. This pressure can lead to increased urinary frequency and urgency, making it more challenging for the child to maintain bladder control during the night. Additionally, constipation can disrupt the normal signaling between the bladder and the brain, further complicating the ability to wake up in response to a full bladder. Studies have shown that resolving constipation can lead to a significant reduction in bed wetting episodes, highlighting the importance of addressing digestive health as part of managing nocturnal enuresis .


Probiotics and Bed Wetting

Given the potential link between the gut microbiome and bed wetting, probiotics have been explored as a treatment option. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can restore gut balance. A study published in the World Journal of Urology found that children with nocturnal enuresis who received probiotic supplementation showed significant improvement in symptoms compared to those who did not receive probiotics.


Dietary Interventions

Diet plays a crucial role in maintaining gut health. A diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables can promote a healthy gut microbiome. Conversely, diets high in processed foods and sugars can disrupt gut balance. Encouraging a healthy diet in children may help alleviate bed wetting by supporting a balanced microbiome.


For further information on how your children’s gut health is impacting their health and wellbeing book an appointment with our one of our experienced naturopaths.  




1. Frontiers in Psychiatry - "Gut microbiome and sleep: New insights on the impact of the gut-brain axis on sleep regulation" [Link to study]

2. Journal of Pediatric Urology - "Inflammatory markers and their association with enuresis in children" [Link to study]

3. Pediatric Research - "Differences in gut microbiota composition in children with and without nocturnal enuresis" [Link to study]

4. World Journal of Urology - "Probiotics in the treatment of nocturnal enuresis: A randomized controlled trial" [Link to study]


Posted on 12 May 2024
Author:Jean Jarrett
Tags:Children's healthGut health

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