Published on March 20, 2014
• No single laboratory finding is pathognomonic of enuresis; but clinicians must rule out organic factors, such as the presence of urinary tract infections, that may predispose a child to enuresis. • Structural obstructive abnormalities may be present in up to 3 percent of children with apparent enuresis. • Sophisticated radiographic studies are usually deferred in simple cases of enuresis with no signs of repeated infections or other medical problems.
• To make the diagnosis of enuresis, organic causes of bladder dysfunction must be investigated and ruled out. • Organic syndromes, such as urinary tract infections, obstructions, or anatomical conditions, are found most often in children who experience both nocturnal and diurnal enuresis combined with urinary frequency and urgency.
• The organic features include – genitourinary pathology (structural, neurological, and infectious) such as • obstructive uropathy, • spina bifida occulta, and • cystitis; – other organic disorders that can cause polyuria and enuresis, such as • diabetes mellitus and • diabetes insipidus; – disturbances of consciousness and sleep, such as • seizures, • intoxication, and • sleepwalking disorder, during which a child urinates; – adverse effects from treatment with antipsychotics (e.g., thioridazine [Mellaril]).
• Enuresis is often self-limited, and a child with enuresis may have a spontaneous remission without psychological sequelae. • Most such children find their symptoms ego-dystonic and enjoy enhanced self-esteem and improved social confidence when they become continent. • Enuresis after at least one dry year usually begins between the ages of 5 and 8 years; if it occurs much later, especially during adulthood, organic causes must be investigated. • Some evidence indicates that late onset of enuresis in children is more frequently associated with a concomitant psychiatric difficulty than is enuresis without at least one dry year. • Relapses occur in children with enuresis who are becoming dry spontaneously and in those who are being treated.
• The significant emotional and social difficulties of these children usually include – poor self-image, – decreased self-esteem, – social embarrassment and restriction, and – intrafamilial conflict. • The course of children with enuresis may be influenced by whether they receive appropriate evaluation and treatment for common comorbid disorders such as ADHD.
• A treatment plan for typical enuresis can be developed after organic causes of urinary dysfunction have been ruled out. • Modalities that have been used successfully for enuresis include both behavioral and pharmacological interventions. • The first step in any treatment plan is to review appropriate toilet training. • If toilet training was not attempted, the parents and the patient should be guided in this undertaking.
• Record-keeping is helpful in determining a baseline and following the child's progress and may itself be a reinforcer. – A star chart may be particularly helpful. • Other useful techniques include restricting fluids before bed and night lifting to toilet train the child. • Another basic intervention for those children with enuresis and bowel dysfunction is to assess whether chronic constipation is contributing to urinary dysfunction, and consider increasing dietary fiber to diminish constipation.
• Classic conditioning with the bell (or buzzer) and pad apparatus is generally the most effective treatment for enuresis, with dryness resulting in more than 50 percent of cases. • The treatment is equally effective in children with and without concomitant mental disorders, and no evidence suggests symptom substitution. • Difficulties may include child and family noncompliance, improper use of the apparatus, and relapse. • Bladder training - encouragement or reward for delaying micturition for increasing times during waking hours - has also been used. • Although sometimes effective, this method is decidedly inferior to the bell and pad.
• Medication is considered when enuresis is causing impairment in social, family, and school function and behavioral, dietary, and fluid restriction have not been efficacious. • When the problem interferes significantly with a child's functioning, several medications can be considered, although the problem often recurs as soon as medications are withdrawn. 1. Imipramin 2. Desmopressin 3. The tricyclic drugs 4. Reboxetine
1. Imipramine (Tofranil) is efficacious and has been approved for use in treating childhood enuresis, primarily on a short-term basis. – Initially, up to 30 percent of patients with enuresis stay dry, and up to 85 percent wet less frequently than before treatment. – The success often does not last, however, and tolerance can develop after 6 weeks of therapy. – Once the drug is discontinued, relapse and enuresis at former frequencies usually occur within a few months. – The drug's adverse effects, which include cardiotoxicity, are also a serious problem.
2. Desmopressin (DDAVP), an antidiuretic compound that is available as an intranasal spray, has shown some initial success in reducing enuresis. – Reduction of enuresis has varied from 10 to 90 percent with the use of desmopressin. – In most studies, enuresis recurred shortly after discontinuation of this medication. – Adverse effects that can occur with desmopressin include headache, nasal congestion, epistaxis, and stomachache. – The most serious adverse effect reported with the use of desmopressin to treat enuresis was a hyponatremic seizure experienced by a child.
3. The tricyclic drugs are not currently used frequently for enuresis because of their risks and reports of sudden death in several children with ADHD who were taking desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane). 4. Reboxetine (Edronax, Vestra), a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor with a noncardiotoxic side effect profile has recently been investigated as a safer alternative to imipramine in the treatment of childhood enuresis.
• Psychotherapy may be useful in dealing with the coexisting psychiatric problems and the emotional and family difficulties that arise secondary to chronic enuresis. Although many psychological and psychoanalytic theories regarding enuresis have been advanced, controlled studies have found that psychotherapy alone is not effective in the short- term treatment of enuresis.
• In the revision of International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), nonorganic encopresis and nonorganic enuresis are classified as other behavioral and emotional disorders with onset usually occurring in childhood or adolescence.
ICD-10 Diagnostic Criteria for Nonorganic Encopresis A.The child repeatedly passes feces in places that are inappropriate for the purpose (e.g., clothing, floor), either involuntarily or intentionally. (The disorder may involve overflow incontinence secondary to functional fecal retention.) B.The child's chronological and mental age is at least 4 years. C.There is at least one encopretic event per month. D.Duration of the disorder is at least 6 months. E.There is no organic condition that constitutes a sufficient cause for the encopretic events.
ICD-10 Diagnostic Criteria for Nonorganic Enuresis A.The child's chronological and mental age is at least 5 years. B.Involuntary or intentional voiding of urine into bed or clothes occurs at least twice a month in children aged under 7 years, and at least once a month in children aged 7 years or more. C.The enuresis is not a consequence of epileptic attacks or of neurological incontinence, and not a direct consequence of structural abnormalities of the urinary tract or any other nonpsychiatric medical condition. D.There is no evidence of any other psychiatric disorder that meets the criteria for other ICD-10 categories. E.Duration of the disorder is at least 3 months.
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