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The natural history of daytime urinary incontinence in children: a large British cohort


J Heron, Department of Social Medicine, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK.
Tel: +44-117 331 4565 |
Fax: +44-117 928 7325 |


Aim:  Few studies have looked at the prevalence of daytime incontinence in a longitudinal cohort of children. This study set out to determine the prevalence of daytime incontinence and relationships between daytime incontinence and bedwetting, faecal incontinence and urgency in a large cohort of British children.

Methods:  Parents of children taking part in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) were asked questions concerning the child’s daytime wetting, bedwetting and faecal incontinence at different time points, 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, 7.5 and 9.5 years. The difference between the sexes for these different conditions was compared.

Results and limitations:  Data were available for 10 819 of the 13 973 children who entered the study. The prevalence of any daytime incontinence declined from 15.5% at 4.5 years to 4.9% at 9.5 years, and was mainly described as infrequent. Daytime incontinence was more common in girls than boys and frequent (DSM-IV) incontinence was more commonly related to urgency, bedwetting and faecal incontinence than infrequent incontinence.

Conclusions:  Daytime incontinence is relatively common among children of primary school age and frequent incontinence more commonly coexists with other conditions, such as bedwetting and urgency. This study suggests the need for treatment to focus on children with frequent incontinence.