When we think of bed wetting, we normally think of it as a thing that occurs with children - and this of course is true. However, it also occurs in adults too. In fact, in the US, it’s around 2 percent of the population of adults that wet the bed.
It can be a very embarrassing thing to happen as an adult to have to deal with a wet bed and it may impact your daily life such as sleeping or social events. But it’s not your fault that this happens and there might be some things you can do to help you stop.
So, what’s the answer? Bed wetting in adults can be due to a multitude of factors and it can sometimes be difficult to understand why it happens.
In this guide, we’re going to look at why some adults wet the bed, along with how they might try to take action to try and stop.
Why Do Some Adults Wet The Bed?
There can be many reasons for adults wetting the bed and the condition in medical terms is known as nocturnal enuresis. If you start wetting the bed as an adult, you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible.
There are some common reasons for adults wetting the bed, and they’re usually the following:
Normally, our bodies produce a hormone known as ADH. This hormone is responsible for our kidneys producing less urine during sleep, so that we have a good quality of sleep and our body can detoxify and regenerate.
However, if your body produces less ADH than normal, your kidneys might continue producing a high amount of urine. As a result, you might wet the bed.
Additionally, if you live with diabetes, the production of ADH might be affected and lowered giving the same result. However, you will only confirm this after a doctor’s consultation.
Sometimes, you might have a bladder condition where your bladder cannot keep up with the amount of urine that is being produced. Much like pouring water into a bottle, after the capacity is filled - you cannot keep pouring water because it will leak.
The same applies to the bladder and urine. If there’s no room left, urine might leak and cause a wet bed.
Another condition known as an overactive bladder (OAB) can cause you to wet the bed. The muscles in the bladder normally contract when you’re about to urinate but this condition causes the muscles to contract far too often.
You may also have conditions like bladder or prostate cancer. To be sure, you must see a doctor as soon as possible and keep up with regular checks.
There are many medicines that people might be taking which can cause a person to wet the bed, particularly antipsychotics or sleeping medication.
If you notice any abnormalities in your sleep or urination after being prescribed medication, you should contact your doctor and tell them immediately. There might be some basic steps that you can take to change your bed wetting.
There may also be other problems that can cause a person to wet the bed. They can be conditions like brain diseases (Parkinson’s, MS, or seizures), conditions that affect the shape and structure of the bladder, extreme constipation, kidney stones, infections, or sleeping disorders.
Another common reason is from a heavy night of drinking. In this instance, you may need to speak with a doctor about habitual drinking, rather than a biological condition - however, only a doctor will be able to confirm what the problem is.
How Does Diagnosis Work?
The first thing you have to do is contact your doctor. It’s not a nice thing to talk about and can be very embarrassing, but speaking about embarrassing conditions to an expert can help you overcome the issue and potentially save your life.
You will need to talk about the frequency of your bed wetting, the time that you wake up and notice that bedwetting has occurred, what you ate and drank that day and at what time and any other key information surrounding the problem.
After a consultation with your doctor, they will be able to refer you for more tests. You may have to provide a sample of urine which will be looked at during a urinalysis. This is when a specialist will analyze your urine and be able to identify if there is an infection or a problem within the urinary tract.
They may also check for bacteria in the urine which can identify if there is a problem with the urinary tract, such as a UTI.
You may also undertake a test that looks at how much urine you have left in your bladder after you have urinated or how much urine you produce. The specialist may even check for the speed of urine expulsion.
What Might Be The Answer?
It is only with the above tests that you will be able to rule out some conditions that can lead to bed wetting, but there are some steps you can take which can help in the meantime or overall. They can include:
It may sound ridiculous but it can work. Much in the same way that you train a dog to toilet times, you can train yourself to use the bathroom at allocated times during the day and night. If you’re prone to bed wetting in the middle of the night, set yourself an alarm throughout the night so that you can urinate.
Over time, you may be able to train your brain to urinate at the correct and appropriate times once again. You can slowly increase the amount of time between trips to the bathroom and your bladder will slowly hold more and more liquid.
Avoid Drinks Before Bed Time
Drinking something right before bed can lead you to need the bathroom during the night, but if you’re wetting the bed - you’re not making it to the bathroom. Consider not drinking before bed and ensure you’ve tried to urinate before you sleep.
Cut Down On Alcohol
If you’re wetting the bed due to heavy consumption of alcohol, it might be beneficial to drink less. Consider getting help from your doctor.
The Bottom Line
Bed wetting in adults happens and there can be a variety of reasons for it, but you will not know for sure unless you speak with your doctor about the problem.
Medications and possible surgery could be required, but if not - a doctor might provide you with the resources for help like counselling or other therapies. It all starts with you speaking with them first.