Nocturnal enuresis: treatment implications for the chiropractor

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1994 Sep;17(7):465-73.


Objective: A comprehensive review of the literature concerning the etiology, diagnosis, and the natural history of primary nocturnal enuresis is presented. Contemporary treatment options are discussed in light of the documented annual remission rate of this disorder.

Data source: Articles reviewed were obtained by conducting a computer-aided search of papers indexed in Medline and the Index to Chiropractic Literature from 1989 to 1993. In addition, the Chiropractic Research Abstracts Collection and bibliographies from pertinent articles were manually searched.

Data synthesis: Primary nocturnal enuresis affects some 200,000 children and their families throughout Canada. Twenty percent of children wet the bed at age 5, 10% at age 10, and only about 1% at age 15. The documented natural history of the disorder reveals that for those affected, 10% to 20% exhibit spontaneous resolution per year. Contemporary treatment options center on three factors that play primary roles in the etiology of this condition: functional bladder capacity, patient conditioning and the circadian rhythm of nocturnal ADH secretion.

Conclusions: The success of each therapeutic option must, in part, be attributed to the natural history of enuresis, as well as any educational or placebo aspects of treatment. Conditioning therapy utilizing the urine pad alarm may be the most reasonable initial mode of intervention. Spinal manipulative therapy has been shown to possess an efficacy comparable to the natural history.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chiropractic / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Enuresis / etiology
  • Enuresis / physiopathology
  • Enuresis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology
  • Urination / physiology