Updated February 20, 1998

What is Sleep Enuresis?

It is the inability to maintain urinary control during sleep. Primary enuresis refers to inability to maintain urinary control from infancy. Secondary enuresis is a relapse after control has been achieved.

What causes it?

Medical disorders like diabetes, urinary tract infection, sleep apnea or epilepsy can cause it. Psychiactric disorders can also be a cause.

How often does sleep enuresis occur?

To be considered sleep enuresis, there has to be at least two episodes per month in children 3 to 6 years and at least one episode per month for older individuals. Sleepwalking can also occur during an episode.

How is sleep enuresis treated?

A full physical should be done to rule out medical conditions. There are various techniques used when medical conditions have been ruled out. The most common are: behavior modification, alarm devices, and medications.

Diagnostic Classification Steering Committee, Thorpy MJ, Chairman. International Classification of Sleep Disorders: Diagnostic and Coding Manual. Rochester, Minnesota: American Sleep Disorders Association, 1990.


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