Objective: There are no published nationally representative prevalence estimates of enuresis among children in the United States using standardized diagnostic criteria. This study sets out to describe the prevalence, demographic correlates, comorbidities, and service patterns for enuresis in a representative sample of U.S. children.
Method: The diagnosis of enuresis was derived from parent-reported data for "enuresis, nocturnal" collected using the computerized version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (C-DISC 4.0) from a nationally representative sample of 8- to 11-year-old children (n = 1,136) who participated in the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.
Results: The overall 12-month prevalence of enuresis was 4.45%. The prevalence in boys (6.21%) was significantly greater than that in girls (2.51%). Enuresis was more common at younger ages and among black youth. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was strongly associated with enuresis (odds ratio 2.88; 95% confidence interval 1.26-6.57). Only 36% of the enuretic children had received health services for enuresis.
Conclusions: Enuresis is a common condition among children in the United States. Few families seek treatment for enuresis despite the potential for adverse effects on emotional health. Child health care professionals should routinely screen for enuresis and its effects on the emotional health of the child and the family. Assessment of ADHD should routinely include evaluation for enuresis and vice versa. Research on the explanations for the association between enuresis and ADHD is indicated.