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Thread: Bedwetting / sleep-wetting / nocturnal enuresis <- what's what?

  1. #1

    Default Bedwetting / sleep-wetting / nocturnal enuresis <- what's what?

    Hi all,
    I've read some threads here and some have confused me about what people actually mean when they use the term 'bedwetting'. I'm not a native English speaker, but I have always thought that 'bedwetting' referred to 'nocturnal enuresis': not being able to stay dry at (most) nights.

    There are quite some topics in this forum in which someone asks whether it would be a good idea to "start bedwetting" so that the parents would start providing them with diapers. As far as I've read them, the answer is a VERY definite NO. I very much agree with that, but it has also made me think about the use of the term 'bedwetting'.
    Technically it seems very simple: 'bedwetting' is something that causes the bed to enter a state of being not dry.

    So there's my first problem: by that definition I am not a bedwetter, even though I have primary nocturnal enuresis. I have maybe wet my bed five times in my life. I have, of course, wet a whole lot of nappies / diapers in all the nights of my life so far. But strange enough, that doesn't make me a nappiewetter

    Seriously though: is 'bedwetting' referring to the physical act of wetting your bed, or does it refer to someone's inability to stay dry overnight?
    Or are both true? If so, how do you tell them apart?

    I have considered using 'sleep-wetting' for being unable to stay dry - regardless of whether the bed is being sprinkled, or a diaper. That feels more like it is: wetting during one's sleep, without referring to where it ends up (if at all).

    Could someone tell me how these words are used here on ADISC ?
    TIA

  2. #2

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    Bedwetting is a colloquialism for when a person urinates while they are asleep, regardless of whether it moistens a bed or not.

  3. #3

  4. #4

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    Kara, bedwetter for the most part does mean primary nocturnal enuresis. When kids or adults that have nocturnal enuresis and doesn't wear a diaper/nappy to bed, then they end up wetting the bed, therefor being called a bedwetter.
    Not all parents believe in using diapers/nappies for kids that have nocturnal enuresis. Some try alarms, waking them up every two hours and take them to the bathroom, and or any other methods they feel will get the kid to stop.

  5. #5

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    How about someone who purposes pees the bed. To my way of thinking they are a bedwetter. So in my mind bedwetter encompases both voluntary and involuntary wetting, whereas sleep wetting and nocturnal enuresis are strictly involuntary.

  6. #6

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    These discussions about terminology can get very complicated. I reckon it is best to try and be as factual as possible when using different terms.

    So for me "bedwetter" is someone who has made their bed/sheets/mattress wet with urine - either involuntarily or on purpose.

    "Sleepwetting" refers to someone who may involuntarily (or by self conditioning) pass urine when they are asleep - they may be enuritic but (by my definition) would not be a "bedwetter" if properly protected/diapered.

    "Nocturnal enuresis" seem like a almost interchangeable term for sleep wetting except that (to be strictly accurate) it must refer to things that happen in the night.

    How you feel about these descriptions and labels depends on where you are coming from. I don't like the terms "incontinent" and "bedwetter" being applied to me because as a matter of self respect I control my incontinence in whatever way I can and try to make sure I am not obviously wet in the presence of other people and do not often have a soaking bed.

    I can't deny being "enuretic" or a "sleep wetter" because those terms describe what affects me - not the end result.

    Like many people (I guess) who endure incontinence part of me imagines what it might be like to really enjoy the experience and I can understand (sometimes wistfully) where recreational diaper wearers and AB's are coming from. My life has had many periods of battling against IC and this has made enjoyment of these things difficult to "get my head round". I only mention this because I am not suggesting my definitions are right for anyone else but me and I do understand others will like the words I dislike.

  7. #7

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    Hi Dayannight, Wbxx & Checkingoutall: thank you for your thoughtful replies. It looks like the jury's still out on this one.
    It seems then that either "primary nocturnal enuresis" or "sleep wetting" are ones that I should use then! Nonetheless, the first one sounds so Seriously Medical, and the second one suggests that something other than nappies is still regularly being wetted.
    It's still better than in Dutch: there we only have "bed-peeing" :/

    Language ... can't live with it, can't live without it :roll:

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara View Post
    Hi Dayannight, Wbxx & Checkingoutall: thank you for your thoughtful replies. It looks like the jury's still out on this one.
    It seems then that either "primary nocturnal enuresis" or "sleep wetting" are ones that I should use then! Nonetheless, the first one sounds so Seriously Medical, and the second one suggests that something other than nappies is still regularly being wetted.
    It's still better than in Dutch: there we only have "bed-peeing" :/

    Language ... can't live with it, can't live without it :roll:
    I think you're just getting too hung up on the literal translation. Bedwetting isn't literally to wet the bed, but the concept of someone who wets themselves uncontrollably in their sleep, which usually results in a wet bed.

  9. #9

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    I've seen sleep-wetting being used, but mostly in a medical context where they have to find softer language to communicate with clients. The same way they call a diaper 'protection', but it's the same thing as bedwetting. Primary Nocturnal Enuresis is the official medical term for it, used in the handbooks and research.
    The difference between dutch and english is that english words usually have more specific meanings. They have slightly different words for slightly different situations where in Dutch it's the same word. English, especially American, has a kind of politeness where they make their language less direct to be nice. So they have peeing, but when you do it on yourself or involuntary it's called 'wetting', it's less direct and confronting. "I wet the bed." "How?" "Well..I was drinking some soda and I dropped the glass." In Dutch you can't have that confusion, I peed the bed.. there's only one way to take that. "Sleep-wetting' is just one step nicer. It's even less direct, now you don't even specify that you were sleeping in a bed at the time when something involving some kind of liquid happened.

    I think they call it bedwetting and not nappywetting because is because of the embarrasment people associate with wearing diapers beyond a certain age. Also in the normal situation you only start calling it bedwetting if a child still does it when it's out of nappies, so by then it's probably the bed that gets wet It's the same in dutch, if you wear a diaper to bed you're still considered a bedwetter. It don't make no sense

  10. #10

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    @Zephy - sorry, that last bit was not entirely serious. I think I mis-typed the appropriate smiley there

    ---------- Post added at 21:02 ---------- Previous post was at 20:20 ----------

    The deeper you get into it, the more complex it seems to become
    I was looking for the right word to use in my case; a word that describes "involuntary", "during my sleep only", "from birth" and also rather the condition than the result.
    Quite a lot of possible variations!

    It had indeed occurred to me before that (US) English tends to be more politically correct than Dutch, though we tend to follow most developments. A friend of mine works in a daycare facility for people with severe retardation and in just a few years she has seen the way her patients are labeled shift from "mentally disabled" via something that had "challenged" in it to, at least in the institution she worked, "people with possibilities".

    It seems like there's a continuous movement from specific labels that slowly acquire a negative connotation, and then a new, positive term is coined. "Positive" only at that moment though, because that new term eventually becomes associated with the same notion that the previous label referred to, and then that new term becomes a candidate for replacement. The only difference is that the labels tend to become fuzzier and more vague with every cycle, until they mean nothing at all anymore. I think that they did succeed to reach that point with "people with possibilities".

    I wonder if something like that might also happen with us?

    1980 - Bedwetting
    1990 - Nightly Incontinence
    2000 - Sleep-wetting
    2010 - Being Enuretically Challenged
    2020 - The Differently Dry
    2030 - The Fluidly Creative

    Last edited by Kara; 18-Jun-2011 at 19:29.

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