The three systems: a conceptual way of understanding nocturnal enuresis

Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2000 Aug;34(4):270-7. doi: 10.1080/003655900750042022.


Childhood nocturnal enuresis has traditionally been regarded as a multifaceted problem with a variety of treatment interventions. This paper proposes a model based on the notion that nocturnal enuresis arises through the ill functioning of one or more of the following three systems - a lack of vasopressin release during sleep; bladder instability; and/or an inability to arouse from sleep to bladder sensations. Clinical signs of each system are outlined and the appropriate treatment intervention for each is discussed. It is argued that addressing nocturnal enuresis in this way will enhance overall treatment effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / physiology
  • Child
  • Enuresis / physiopathology*
  • Enuresis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology
  • Vasopressins / metabolism


  • Vasopressins