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Dev Med Child Neurol. 1997 Oct;39(10):677-81.

Determinants of nocturnal enuresis in England and Scotland in the '90s.

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  • 1Division of Public Health Sciences, UMDS, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.


The aim of this study was to assess whether changes have occurred in the determinants of nocturnal enuresis in Scotland and England in comparison with previous studies. The study was based on 22 study areas from a representative English sample, 14 areas from a representative Scottish sample, and 20 areas from an English inner-city sample. A total of 14,674 subjects was included in the analysis from 16,835 eligible children in the age range 5 to 11 years. For the main analysis, an enuretic child was one who wet the bed at least once a week. As expected, the frequency of enuresis was higher in boys and decreased markedly with age in both sexes. Bedwetting was more frequent in: Afro-Caribbean children compared with white children in the representative samples (OR 1.72 95% CI 1.22 to 2.42); those whose mothers smoked at least 10 cigarettes at home compared with non-smokers (OR 1.58 95% CI 1.26 to 1.98); children who had disturbed sleep compared with those who slept well (OR 1.96 95% CI 1.53 to 2.51); those with mothers aged less than 20 years at the child's birth compared with mothers in the age range 25 to 34 (OR 1.63 95% CI 1.20 to 2.22); and in the second- or third-born in the family in comparison with the first-born (OR 1.42 95% CI 1.17 to 1.72). Father's social class was associated with enuresis only in girls. Only 50% of the parents consulted a doctor for enuresis in their child. The percentage was even lower in Afro-Caribbean families (33%). Enuresis continues to be a highly prevalent problem and has not decreased over the last 45 years. We confirm that environmental factors are still important in the aetiology of enuresis. It is surprising that despite the availability of effective treatment only half of parents consult a doctor about the problem.

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