What is Diurnal Enuresis?

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  • Written By: Lakendra Scott
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2019
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Diurnal enuresis — also known as daytime wetting — is a condition where people unintentionally urinate during the day. Daytime wetting is considered diurnal enuresis only when the person does it unintentionally and is more than 4 years old, the generally accepted age by which control of urination is expected. The disorder affects mostly children, but there also are teenage and adult sufferers. Diurnal enuresis is the daytime counterpart of nocturnal enuresis, or nighttime wetting, and it can be experienced in conjunction with nocturnal enuresis, although experiencing both is rare.

The causes of diurnal enuresis are varied and tend to depend on the age of the sufferer. For younger children, the causes are often behavioral issues. The two most common of these causes are urinating too infrequently, such as when the child waits to long to urinate and can’t hold it, and stress-related incontinence, which is wetting because of stressful situations.

For children 3-5 years old, refusing to urinate when necessary is normally a result of not wanting to stop doing an activity. Helping the child understand the necessity of urinating when necessary can combat this. Stress-related incontinence is a result of environmental factors and can be addressed by removing stress from the child’s environment or by communicating with the child about his or her concerns. Both urgency and stress incontinence can be solved without medication.


There also are medical causes for diurnal enuresis, with the most common being urinary tract infections and muscle contraction issues. For children who suffer from urinary tract infections, diurnal enuresis will be experienced in conjunction with other symptoms typical of urinary tract infections and can normally be solved by treating the infection with doctor prescribed medication. For people who suffer from involuntary contractions of the detrussor muscle, diurnal enuresis is also common.

This disorder is sometimes associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in young girls and can be diagnosed by a medical official. Mediation in conjunction with behavioral therapies often help to solve diurnal enuresis caused by muscle contractions. Less common causes of diurnal enuresis are include constipation, physical malformations, diabetes and other abnormalities involving the bladder or urethra.

Diurnal enuresis is often short-lived and treatable. The most common treatment is behavioral therapy, which cures about 75 percent of cases. Behavioral therapies range from positive encouragement to repetition exercises. For medical and anatomical causes, medication and/or surgery might be necessary. Medication without behavioral therapy is rarely successful in the long term.


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