Friday , 24 March 2023


By Fidelia Asogwa

Bed wetting, also called nocturnal enuresis, is the involuntary passage of urine (urinary incontinence) while asleep. In this case, the person has adequate bladder control while awake.

About one out of hundred adults suffer from bed wetting problem. Bed wetting is not a natural part of the aging process; instead, the causes of adult bed wetting are usually related to an underlying illness.  While it may be embarrassing, it is important for an individual suffering from nocturnal enuresis to open up and seek for help instead of keeping it secret.  This is because a thorough examination, including medical history and blood tests, will likely reveal the root cause of the problem thereby bringing permanent solution.

Some adults suffering from these problems most time do not know how it started or what preceded its occurrence when they started experiencing the problem.

Here are some of the causes of adult bed wetting:

  • Medication:   Certain prescriptions drugs, particularly hypnotics (drugs used to induce sleep) are a class of drugs physicians use to treat insomnia.  They are also used as sedatives or in surgical procedures.  Phenobarbital, zolphidem, eszopiclone and diazepam are commonly prescribed hypnotics.  Hypnotics disturb the natural sleep pattern and induce a deep sleep.  In doing so, they can prevent the natural urge to wake up and urinate.
  • Overactive Bladder:  The detrusor muscle is a kind of  muscle located along the inside bladder wall.  To empty the bladder, the detrusor muscle contracts to squeeze the urine out.   Sometimes, the detrusor muscle spontaneously contracts, resulting in an overactive bladder.  Adults suffering from nocturnal enuresis have overactive bladder in 70 to 80 percent of cases.  Often, dietary changes will correct this problem if found to be the root cause.
  • Prostate Enlargement: The prostate is a small gland located at the bottom of the bladder before the urethra in the male reproductive system.  The gland grows at two points in a man’s life, prior to puberty and again beginning in middle age.  In middle age, the growth is called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). BPH normally causes symptoms after age 40.  About 50 percent of men in their sixties and 90 percent of men past 70 years experience BPH symptoms.  BPH can cause adult bed wetting.
  •  Bladder infections:   Cystitis or a bladder infection is caused by bacteria inside the bladder.  Women are more likely to suffer from bladder infection than men.  One of the symptoms of a serious bladder infection is bed wetting. Other symptoms of bladder infection include painful and frequent urination.  Note that not only diabetes but also bladder infection cause frequent urination.  If left untreated, a bladder infection can lead to other problems such as a kidney infection.  But remember that most bladder infections are easily treated with antibiotics.
  • Stress:  Stress has also been attributed as one of the causes of nocturnal enuresis.  In November 2006, Dr. Masayulki Tsugaya stated that most adults suffering from recurring nocturnal enuresis  report being under stress.  Stress related nocturnal enuresis can be treated with anti-anxiety medication and cognitive therapy.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is a group of chronic metabolic disease caused by defects in insulin production or function.  Diabetes is a chronic disease that results in high level of glucose in the blood due to lack of insulin production. Glucose is a   natural sugar that your body uses as a source of energy. Advanced diabetes may cause stomach pain, nausea, dizziness and as well as bed wetting in adults.
  • Antidiuretic Hormones:  Our bodies automatically produce antidiuretic hormones.  Every time these hormones signal our kidneys, less urine is produced.  This usually happens during night time hours to prevent us from having to get up in the middle of the night to empty our bladders.  Sometimes, inadequate amounts of antidiuretic hormones are produced during night time hours which will lead to bed wetting.
  • Bladder capacity: Sometimes, there are no deficiencies in the way our body functions.  The maximum capacity a bladder can hold is simply smaller than that of other people.  This causes a person to continuously feel the urge to urinate, which can lead to the possibility of bed wetting during night time hours. To increase your bladder capacity, you can get involved in press up exercise or any other exercise that can help you stretch your stomach.  Such stretch after sometime helps to increase the size of the bladder thereby enhancing its capacity to hold large amount of urine.
  • Weakened muscles: As people age, muscles throughout the body can become weaker.  This includes bladder muscles.  When this happens, the person losses the ability to discover when he needs to urinate and thereby wet the bed.

How to stop Adult bed wetting

  • Accept the fact that you wet the bed:  The first step to solving this problem is accepting the fact that you bed wet at night.  Don’t be shy about it if you need solution.  This may sound difficult, but once you realize that you do it, you will be ready to try to break the habit.  This will make it easier for you to stop it totally.
  • Drink liquids only during the day time.  If possible, stop intake of anything liquid around 4pm in the evening, so that before bedtime you have emptied the liquid in your bladder.
  • Wear a bed wetting alarm that beeps when it feels moisture develop inside the piece of clothing the device is attached to.  It is designed so that the wearer will wake up and go to the restroom.  This alarm conditions your brain to respond to the feeling of a full bladder.  Most people stop bed wetting after eight to twelve weeks of wearing this alarm.
  • Wake up quickly if you are having a dream that you are on the toilet and peeing. Chances are that you are actually asleep peeing in your bed.  Don’t be ashamed.  It’s a problem that can be solved.
  • Go for tests:  Because bed wetting is a symptom of another ailment in most adults, it is important to test for diseases such as bladder infection, diabetes etc, to find out the root cause of the problem.  Once the root cause is diagnosed and treated, the bed wetting problem disappears immediately.
  • Avoid certain foods:  Due to your blood type, your body may react negatively to certain foods or items when consumed.  For instance, some people experience constant urination once they eat semovita or garri while some people do not react to such.  It is important to be sensitive to yourself and take note of your body reactions to certain foods.  If you found out semovita is not good for your system and it causes you to urinate more than necessary, you can opt for wheat. Also note that if the cause of your bed wetting is diabetes, you need to stop those starchy foods that increase the risk.
  • Seek for help:  Seek for medical help for adequate treatment if you experience bed wetting.   It is treated once the root cause is ascertained.  But if after conducting all the tests and the treatment administered yet the problem persists, seek for spiritual help.  There have been cases where people were actually afflicted with such problem spiritually.  So once you’ve utilized all other options and nothing happened, seek for God’s intervention.

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