A new study shows that “nocturnal enuresis” – bedwetting – is common in children with obstructive sleep apnea.
The study involved 149 children with some degree of sleep apnea – from minimal to severe. They were compared with 139 children in a control group. All children were between 5 and 15 years of age.
Results show that 80 percent of children with a bedwetting problem had some degree of sleep apnea. Children with a bedwetting problem were five times more likely to have sleep apnea.
Typically bedwetting is considered to be a problem if it persists beyond 5 years of age. Bedwetting can occur at any age when it is caused by another problem such as sleep apnea.
The study also found a link between a child’s weight and sleep apnea. Children who were overweight were four times more likely to have sleep apnea.
About two percent of young children have sleep apnea. In June the Sleep Education Blog reported that the causes of sleep apnea in children are complex.
Sleep apnea often occurs when a child has large tonsils and adenoids. But weight and nasal problems also can play a role.
Most children with sleep apnea have a history of snoring. It tends to be loud and may include obvious pauses in breathing and gasps for breath.
In addition to snoring and bedwetting, these are other warning signs that your child may have sleep apnea:
- A rib cage that moves inward as the child inhales
- Body movements and arousals from sleep
- Sweating during sleep
- Sleeping with the neck overextended
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Hyperactivity or aggressive behavior
- A slow rate of growth
- Morning headaches
Your child can get help for sleep apnea at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.