Bedwetting And Sleep Apnea

Bedwetting (enuresis) is a very common problem in young children, with many psychological, emotional and social implications. A New York Times article describes this condition and its' various theories about why it happens and the different treatment options. Surprisingly, Dr. Klass doesn't mention sleep apnea, since it's one of the major causes of enuresis. 

A study published last year showed that about 1/3 of children with obstructive sleep apnea have enuresis, with the vast majority being cured or partially cured after adenotonsillectomy. Another study showed that rapid maxillary palatal expansion (which has a similar effect on upper airway breathing as adenotonsillectomy) resulted in significant improvement in nearly 50%. A study from the Journal of Pediatrics showed that an AHI of great than 1 had a higher risk of enuresis compared with children whose AHI was less than 1.


Dr. Rack, in his sleepdoctor blog describes 3 possible explanations regarding why children with sleep apnea may wet their beds:


1. These children don't wake up easily since sleep apnea may decrease the arousal response

2. Increased abdominal pressure during apnea events may increase bladder pressure

3. OSA affects hormones that produce urine, including atrial natriuretic peptide and antidiuretic hormone.


Granted, there are many other reasons for bedwetting, but if your child has this problem, at least consider the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea. If you as a parent snore or have obstructive sleep apnea, then it's even more likely that your child may this condition.


If you have sleep apnea, did you wet your bed as a child? You can remain anonymous with your answer in the comments box below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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