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Enuresis—the cause that dares not speak its name

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 16 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:435
  1. John Gosnell, works as a freelance illustrator and writer

    I was born in 1960. For most of my childhood I was enuretic, for which there was no organic origin. I received various treatments, including chilled jars intermittently cupped over my genitals throughout each night, an electrical alarm wired to my bed, and a course of imipramine hydrochloride. These treatments were prescribed between the ages of 6 and 10. All proved unsuccessful. I was discharged with the advice that I would “grow out of it.”

    My family was of the dysfunctional kind that often fosters children with enuresis, but one problem in particular seems to have prompted my enuresis. Throughout my childhood I shared a bedroom with an older member of my family, who sexually abused me on a regular basis. As is common in such cases, I told no one about this.

    Years later my family moved house and I gained my …

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