Bedwetting also known as sleep or nocturnal enuresis is a condition that is common in young children but over time, it has been discovered to affect a lot of adults.
Its occurrence in adults however may be a sign of an underlying disease or condition.
It is quite an embarrassing condition for adults and the sufferer may become depressed and experience low self-esteem.
If you’re an adult who frequently wets the bed, it’s a good idea to discuss your symptoms with your primary care provider to find the root cause of your problem.
Below is everything you need to know about the causes and treatment of adult bedwetting.
One of the first places to look for causes of urinary incontinence is whether there is a family history of bed-wetting. It’s unclear which genes are responsible for passing down this condition. But if you have a parent who experienced nocturnal enuresis, you’re more likely to experience it as well.
When blood sugars are high, the number of urine increases as the kidneys try to manage sugar levels. This can lead to bed-wetting, excessive urination (more than 3 liters per day), and frequent urination.
3. Overactive bladder
Your bladder muscles normally squeeze when you’re ready to pee. With overactive bladders, these muscles squeeze too often or at the wrong times.
4. Sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop and start breathing repeatedly. One study found that seven percent of people with this sleep disorder experience bed-wetting. Urinating during your sleep may become more frequent as sleep apnea worsens.
5. Hormonal Imbalance
Another factor may have to do with ADH, the antidiuretic hormone. Its main function is to signal the kidneys to decrease the amount of urine produced. Instinctively, the body normally produces more ADH to avoid nocturnal enuresis. However, some people do not produce the appropriate amount of this hormone at night, which leads to high urine production.
6. Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infection can cause unexpected urine leakage and bed-wetting.
Likewise, pressure from a stone or tumor may make muscles in the bladder contract unnecessarily. This can lead to frequent and uncontrolled urination.
7. Small bladder
A small bladder isn’t actually smaller in size than other bladders. Instead, it feels fuller at lower volumes, meaning it functions as if it’s smaller. That means you may need to urinate more frequently, including at night. A small bladder may be tricky to manage during your sleep, and bed-wetting may occur.
Some prescription medications can make you urinate more frequently and increase bladder contractions. This may lead to bed-wetting. These medications include sleep pills, insomnia medications, antipsychotics etc.
Stress, anxiety, fear, and other psychological issues can also cause bedwetting.
The cause of bedwetting is usually determined by tests like:
- A physical examination
- A neurological examination
- Urine tests
- Urologic examination
- Ultrasound of kidneys and bladder
Lifestyle treatment for bed-wetting
- Set fluid intake limitations
- Reduce or cut out down on bladder irritants like sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol from your diet
- Make urinating a routine. Set a schedule to make sure to urinate every one to two hours during the day
- Set a nighttime bathroom alarm to urinate in the middle of the night
- Protect your bed with special mattress covers
- Wear absorbent briefs during the night
- A healthy diet rich in leafy vegetables and fiber is considered to be better for bed-wetting patients.
In many cases controlling nocturnal urinary incontinence comes down to treating underlying medical conditions. However, there are some prescribed medications that have been shown to help.
- Anticholinergic drugs to calm irritated bladder
- Antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections
- Desmopressin acetate increases levels of ADH to slow nighttime urine production