The causes and treatment of isolated primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE) are the subject of ongoing controversy. We are proposing consensus practical recommendations, based on a formalised analysis of the literature and validated by a large panel of experts.
A task force of six experts based its work on the guide for literature analysis and recommendations and recommendation grading of the French Haute Autorité de Santé (formalized consensus process methodological guidelines) to evaluate the level of scientific proof (grade of 1 to 4) and the strength of the recommendations (grade A, B, C) of the publications on PNE. As a result of this, 223 articles from 2003 on were identified, of which only 127 (57 %) have an evaluable level of proof. This evaluation was then reviewed by a 19-member rating group. Several recommendations, poorly defined by the literature, had to be proposed by a professional agreement resulting from a consultation between the members of the task force and those of the rating group. For its final validation, the document was submitted to a reading group of 21 members working in a wide range of specialist areas and practices but all involved in PNE.
The definition of PNE is very specific: intermittent incontinence during sleep, from the age of 5, with no continuous period of continence longer than 6 months, with no other associated symptom, particularly during the day. Its diagnosis is clinical by the exclusion of all other urinary pathologies. Two factors must be identified during the consultation: nocturnal polyuria promoted by excessive fluid intake, inverse secretion of vasopressin, snoring and sleep apnoea. It is sensitive to desmopressin; small bladder capacity evaluated according to a voiding diary and the ICCS formula. It may be associated with diurnal hyperactivity of the detrusor (30 %). It is resistant to desmopressin. Problems associated with PNE are: abnormal arousal threshold, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (10 %), low self-esteem. The psychological component is not very significant.
PNE is not psychological in origin. The management of this condition includes: evaluating the intrafamilial tolerance and the child’s motivation, evaluating the rate, the volume of urine and wet nights using a diurnal and nocturnal diary; education (sufficient fluid intake at the start of the day, decrease in hyperosmolar intake in the evening, regular and complete urination); specific treatments: desmopressin for polyuric forms (expected success rate of 60–70 %), alarms for forms involving small bladder capacity (expected success rate of 60–80 %); alternative treatments and/or treatments combined with the preceding ones, for refractory forms: oxybutinin, tricyclic antidepressants (risk). Results obtained with hypnosis, psychotherapy, acupuncture, homoeopathy or chiropractic are not currently validated (insufficient level of proof).