£250,000 for enuresis research
Press release issued: 11 March 2004
A four-year project to investigate bladder and bowel control problems among Britain's schoolchildren - and look for links with events during early childhood - has been awarded £250,000 by the National Lottery's Community Fund.
A four-year project to investigate bladder and bowel control problems among Britain’s schoolchildren – and look for links with events during early childhood - has been awarded £250,000 by the National Lottery’s Community Fund.
Nationally it is thought that around 750,000 children have trouble wetting or soiling clothes and bedding. The problem shatters their self-confidence and can have long term effects on the child’s education and social development.
When 2,000 children in four countries were asked to select distressing life events “wetting pants in class” was the most harrowing they could imagine after “losing a parent” and “going blind.”
The Enuresis Resource and Information Centre (ERIC) based in Kingswood has been given the grant to look into the causes and the consequences of childhood wetting and soiling - and come up with advice to parents, children and teachers.
The study will be based on the experiences of 14,000 families who make up the University of Bristol’s Children of the 90s project, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
Penny Dobson, Director of ERIC says: “While ERIC’s major role is as a national information centre, the research in this area is limited – so this is a major opportunity to understand more about the problems these children face.
Existing research suggests:
- Between 2 and 4 per cent of children aged 5 to 7 have problems with daytime wetting or urinary incontinence.
- It affects 1 child in 200 between the ages of 8 and 16
- Faecal incontinence or soiling affects 100,000 children between 5 and 16
- 500,000 children suffer bedwetting problems.
For many children, the problem has a physical cause, such as a lack of the hormone vasopressin which slows down urine production at night.
But psychosocial factors may also be involved. In Finland researchers found that children who were still bedwetting at seven years old were more likely to come from a family where the parents had separated.
One aim of the Bristol study will be to investigate whether some of the problems can be traced back to potty training and the different methods used by parents to help their toddlers out of nappies.
The researchers will also look at how continence problems affect children at school, and how schools can help them. Eventually the information will be used to publish guidelines to parents, children and schools.
Penny Dobson says: “This is a tremendous opportunity to look in more detail at the factors which influence wetting and soiling problems and how children are affected in their daily lives.
“Potty training can be a battle between parent and child, not helped by the fact that many nurseries require children to be dry and clean by the age of three. This puts a lot of pressure on everyone! What we want ideally is a happy potty-trained child at an age when it is right for the child.”