Urinary Incontinence in Children (cont.)
David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Urinary incontinence in children facts
- What is urinary incontinence?
- How does the urinary system work?
- What are the different types of urinary incontinence in children?
- How common is urinary incontinence in children?
- What causes nighttime incontinence in children?
- What causes daytime incontinence in children?
- How do you differentiate between organic and nonorganic causes of urinary incontinence?
- What is the treatment for urinary incontinence in children?
- What is the prognosis of urinary incontinence in children?
- Where can people get more information on urinary incontinence in children?
- Find a local Pediatrician in your town
What are the different types of urinary incontinence in children?
It is easiest to divide childhood enuresis into two groups. Nocturnal enuresis occurs during sleep and diurnal (daytime) enuresis occurs during waking hours. Nocturnal enuresis is often referred to as bedwetting and is the most common type of urinary incontinence in children over 5 years of age. Diurnal enuresis is more often seen in younger children and more often a result of certain behaviors, though rarely it can be a sign of more serious problems. Another way to categorize incontinence is by the timing of the symptoms. If a child has good daytime bladder control but has never had a dry night, it is referred to as primary enuresis. Secondary enuresis is incontinence in an individual who has been dry for at least six months and then develops symptoms after that period.
How common is urinary incontinence in children?
Studies indicate that 20% of all 5-year-old children and 10% of 7-year-olds wet the bed, and of these, up to 20% also have some degree of daytime incontinence. In addition, nocturnal enuresis is more common in boys, and diurnal incontinence is more common in girls. Secondary enuresis accounts for about one-quarter of all cases and is most often associated with some psychological stressor or anxiety.
What causes nighttime incontinence in children?
Any number of normal and abnormal things can cause nocturnal enuresis in children. Boys are more commonly affected than girls. Most young children who suffer from bedwetting are physically and emotionally normal. Although the exact cause is unknown, the bedwetting is believed to be the result of a number of nonorganic factors, including developmental issues, overproduction of urine, and an inability to respond to the normal physiological signals associated with bladder distension while asleep. Since bedwetting does run in families, experts believe there is a genetic disposition as well and if a parent experienced nocturnal enuresis as a child, there is a 45% risk that their child will also suffer from bedwetting. In addition to nonorganic causes, there are also some less common organic causes including infection, anatomic abnormalities, neurologic abnormalities, and endocrine abnormalities such as diabetes mellitus.
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