Adult Bed Wetting: There’s Nothing to Be Embarrassed About

Most people think of bedwetting as a childhood problem, but there are quite a few adults suffering from the same problem. Some estimate that 26 million Americans are dealing with adult bed wetting. The good news is, if you are one of those bed wetting adults, you are certainly not alone. And there are many treatments that can help.

Many if not most people dealing with bed wetting as an adult feel too embarrassed to talk to a doctor about the issue. Children who wet the bed usually feel ashamed and embarrassed, and that carries over into adulthood. We don’t like to feel that we’re not fully in control of our own bodies. And because bed wetting is primarily seen as a childhood problem, adults feel doubly embarrassed about the situation.

But the fact remains that millions of adults have the same issue. And in some cases, treatment can be much more effective if started early on. And if you think that bedwetting is just another part of growing old, think again. There is always a reason for it and there are ways to treat it. So if you are wetting the bed as an adult, please seek help from a medical professional.

What Causes Adult Bed Wetting?

If it’s so common of an experience, what causes adult bed wetting? There are actually quite a few things that could be the underlying cause of your bed wetting. About one or two percent of those who wet the bed as children will take that problem with them into adulthood. Other causes can include medical conditions such as diabetes, bladder cancer, sleep apnea, prostate enlargement or prostate cancer, urinary tract infections or stones, and neurological disorders. Other issues such as an emotional disturbance or extreme anxiety can also be at the root of bed wetting.

Bed wetting is something that cannot be self-diagnosed. Adult bed wetting causes are too varied, and there are too many serious conditions that could be at the root of the problem, so seeing a doctor is vital. The doctor will probably start with a routine physical exam, request urine tests to be done, and also request uroligic tests as well as a neurological examination. These exams will help the doctor get to the heart of the problem and give an idea of which treatments will be most effective.

Adult Bed Wetting Solutions

If you, like many other adults, are dealing with adult bed wetting, most likely the main question in your mind is: how do I get rid of the problem? And luckily, there are many different treatment options that may help you deal with this unwelcome problem. Behavioral interventions are the least invasive, pharmaceutical treatments (medications) can also be effective, and surgical options are considered when other, less invasive methods are not effective.

Here’s a rundown of some of the basic treatments you may wish to consider if you’re wondering how to stop bed wetting in adults. Keep in mind that these are just a few of your options. Your doctor may have another treatment in mind for you, doctors will know best how to stop adult bed wetting.

Behavioral:

  • Monitoring your fluids – Most of us are aware that cutting out beverages in the evening can help reduce the amount of urine you produce during the night. Caffeine and alcohol can also be reduced. Just be sure to get enough fluids during the day to make up for the decrease in the afternoon and evening.
  • Random waking – This involves the use of an alarm to wake you up at random intervals in order to empty your bladder. Doing it at random times keeps you from getting used to urinating at any one time during the night.
  • Bedwetting alarm – The alarm system awakens the person right when the bedwetting accident begins. The person then can finish urinating in the bathroom. The goal is to condition the body to wake up before the accident begins in order to urinate in the toilet.
  • Bladder training – This is a technique that requires a person to drink a large volume of fluid in the day and then avoid emptying the bladder for as long as possible. This trains the bladder to get used to more volume of fluid, and can train the muscles to hold it longer.

Medications:

There are several medications that are effective in treating bed wetting. Some of them are effective in treating up to 40% of cases. Medications can be used in conjunction with behavioral treatments, which generally makes treatment work better overall. Some of the medications your doctor may use include desmopressin, oxybutynin, darifenacin, and tolterodine.

Surgical:

  • Detrusor Myectomy – This procedure removes some or all of the muscle surrounding the bladder, which can serve to reduce bladder contractions and strengthen them.
  • Sacral Nerve Stimulation – This surgery implants a stimulator subcutaneously. It gives an electrical stimulation to the sacral nerve which helps treat urinary incontinence.
  • Clam Cystoplasty – This procedure involves cutting the bladder and inserting part of the intestine in between the halves. This serves to help with bladder capacity.

Adult Bed Wetting Support Groups

If you are one of the 26 million Americans who wet the bed as an adult,an online support group or message board can help you know that you are not alone. Sharing your experience with others can be very helpful, especially since most adults are embarrassed to talk about their condition with friends and even loved ones. An online forum is a good outlet, since you can be anonymous but still share and commiserate with others who understand what you are going through.

Here are a few resources for meeting others with the same condition.

The most important thing to take away is that adult bedwetting is nothing to be ashamed of. You may wet the bed for now, but that does not define who you are as a person. There are other people out there you can reach out to for support and advice. And most importantly, seek medical help if you haven’t yet. Bed wetting is not something that you just have to deal with. There are many treatment options and many things that can be done to help you feel better.

About Holli Ronquillo

I'm a freelance writer, mom, wife, and sleep connoisseur (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not sleeping or chasing a toddler around, I'm usually writing or reading.