Urine concentration and enuresis in healthy preschool children

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995 Mar;149(3):259-62. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170150039006.


Objectives: To determine whether children concentrate their urine overnight and to assess the correlation between specific gravity of a first morning urine specimen and the results of a questionnaire concerning bedwetting, voiding habits, and continence in 47 healthy children aged 3 to 6 years.

Design: A prospective observer-blinded consecutive sample.

Setting: Two San Francisco, Calif., preschools.

Participants: Forty-seven children attending preschool during the study period.

Measurements/main results: Forty of 47 children had a urine specific gravity greater than 1.020. None of these children wet the bed during this study, although four (11%) of 36 had a history of bedwetting. Furthermore, seven children with a urine specific gravity of 1.015 or lower had a history of bedwetting and wet the bed during this study. A voiding frequency of six or more times per day, by history, was associated with a 3:1 relative risk of bedwetting but did not segregate children with primary enuresis from those with secondary enuresis.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that healthy children aged 3 to 6 years are able to concentrate their urine. In addition, urine specific gravity was an accurate predictor of the presence of nocturnal enuresis in this group of children. Our results suggest that a specific gravity of the first morning urine specimen should be correlated with appropriate history before extensive diagnostic evaluation or empiric therapy is performed in children with nocturnal enuresis.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enuresis / physiopathology
  • Enuresis / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Prospective Studies
  • Specific Gravity
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine / chemistry*