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Nat Rev Urol. 2013 Nov;10(11):667-74. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2013.213. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Urinary incontinence in children with special needs.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Saarland University Hospital, 66421 Homburg, Germany.


Nocturnal enuresis, daytime urinary incontinence, lower urinary tract symptoms and faecal incontinence are more common in children with special needs than in typically developing children. Children with intellectual disability, which can be attributed to a range of causes, are particularly affected. Indeed, the epidemiological and clinical studies conducted to date show clear associations that children with special needs have higher rates of urinary (and faecal) incontinence than children without development, physical or cognitive impairments. For example, low intelligence quotient (IQ)-associated physical disability and conditions such as Fragile X and Rett syndromes increase the risk for incontinence, which can persist into adulthood if left untreated. Although the association of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and incontinence has been shown in many studies, further research is needed on other specific disorders, such as autism. As many children are not receiving adequate care, specific multimodal treatments based on rigorous assessment of the incontinence, underlying condition and associated comorbid disorders should be actively offered.

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