Snoring is just one alerting signal that a child may have obstructive sleep apnea. Apnea is a sleep disorder that causes people to temporarily stop breathing numerous times during the night. According to a recent study, apnea also appears to be related to bed-wetting in children. The findings show that children with sleep apnea are at greater risk for nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting) than children without sleep apnea.
Dr. Lee J. Brooks, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia reported in the Journal of Pediatrics that dealing with the sleep apnea might also help remedy bed-wetting. In this study of 160 kids ages 4 to 17 who were referred to sleep-disordered clinic for suspected breathing problems at night, 66 children (41 percent) were also bed-wetters. Of those who were diagnosed as having obstructive sleep apnea at more than one breathing pause per hour of sleep based on studies conducted while the children slept at the clinic showed that 47 percent had a bed-wetting problem, compared with 17 percent of those who had zero or just one breathing disturbance per hour. This demonstrates a high prevalence of bed-wetting in children with sleep apnea.
Two other studies corroborate these findings. Weider demonstrated that surgical removal of the upper airway obstruction led to a complete cure of enuresis in 76 percent of the apneic children studied. Robertson found mandibular advancement devices to be especially beneficial in curing enuresis in apneic children who were also retrognathic. The reasons for chronic bed-wetting in young children are not fully clear.