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Nocturnal Enuresis, or bedwetting, is something that we normally associate with children, but it affects adults too, and is much more common than you might think. More than 1 in 100 adults continue to wet the bed into adulthood, and some people only start wetting the bed as adults.
Normally, there are two different things that stop us going to the toilet during the night and these are:
- Waking: between the ages of 2 and 6, most people develop the ability to wake during the night if the body senses that the bladder is full. But, if someone is a very heavy sleeper, this can mean that they don’t wake up if they need the toilet, meaning they may go while they are asleep.
- Hormones: around sunset each day, the body releases an antidiuretic hormone called arginine vasopressin which reduces the kidneys’ output so that we don’t usually need to go to the toilet during the night. We develop this hormone around the ages of 2 and 6, however some people don’t ever begin creating this hormone, and this can lead to bedwetting.
What Causes Bedwetting in Adults?
As well as the waking and hormone reasons above, there are other things that can cause nocturnal enuresis:
- Excessive Alcohol: as well as irritating the bladder, alcohol increases urine production and can make us sleep more heavily.
- Caffeine: again irritates the bladder and increases urine production.
- Chronic Constipation: if the bowels are really full, this can put pressure on the bladder and cause bedwetting.
- Infection: infections such as urinary tract infections can lead to nocturnal enuresis.
- Psychological problems: depression, sexual abuse, anxiety, stress and other psychological issues can cause bedwetting.
- Sleep apnoea: this is a fairly common medical condition which has been linked to increased risk of adult bedwetting.
Treatment for Adult Bedwetting
The treatment for adult bedwetting depends on the cause, and for problems such as urinary tract infections, treatment can be as simple as a short course of antibiotics. If you suffer from nocturnal enuresis, it’s important to cut down on caffeine and alcohol, and make sure that you go to the toilet just before bed to make sure your bladder is completely empty before you go to sleep.
You might find it useful to use a bedwetting alarm – this will wake you up on timed intervals to go to the toilet every few hours so that you will wake up and go to the toilet rather than wetting the bed. You can also buy bedwetting alarms that monitor wetness and can wake you up as soon as you begin to urinate.
Doctors can also prescribe medications such as Desmopressin and Imipramine to prevent night-time urination. These medications work in different ways to decrease wet nights.
If you are suffering from nocturnal enuresis, and especially if it is something that has only recently started, it is important to see your doctor who can figure out a possible cause and offer treatment options.
Pelvic floor exercise is often recommended as a first line treatment to try to prevent and treat bedwetting in adults. Suitable for both men and women, pelvic floor exercises help to give better control over your bladder and can work simply by making you more aware of your pelvic area. The Kegel8 Ultra 20 Pelvic Toner has been designed with 20 clinically-proven programmes which work deep within your pelvic floor muscles to help to strengthen your body from the inside out, which can help to treat bedwetting.