Why Do Adults Wet the Bed?

Why do Adults Wet the BedDid you know that around 5,000,000 adults, or 1 in 100, have to deal with the embarrassing, hard to talk about problem of adult bedwetting? Even if you do, you might not realise that the causes of adult bedwetting are completely different to what causes a 5 year old to wet the bed. But why do adults wet the bed?

An adult might have this problem for many reasons, and it can come absolutely out of nowhere, taking us by surprise. It’s entirely possible for someone who has never experienced this problem, or even considered it, to one night wake up to an unpleasant surprise. That means it could even happen to you. So right now you’re probably asking yourself why this happens and what can we do about it? Read on to find out the causes and the steps you can make to deal with this problem and prevent it happening in the future.

What Causes Adults to Wet the Bed?

Adult bedwetting, (or nocturnal enuresis) can be caused by a huge amount of factors, but one of the most surprising is that it can be genetic. That’s right. It’s possible if one or both of your parents suffer from this problem, or suffered from it as children, that it could be passed down to you, with up to a 77% chance!

This is probably caused by a number of factors, both psychological and physiological, which we’ll get into below.

Reason 1: Hormone Imbalances

A primary reason in any kind of bedwetting, whether it’s in children or adults, is a lack of a key hormone called ADH in the body. ADH is the antidiuretic hormone, and it’s the job of this hormone to regulate the fluid levels in your body, telling your kidneys when to filter more fluid out of your system via the bladder. Or, in simple terms, telling your body when it needs to pee.

A low level of this hormone makes it difficult for your body to understand its fluid levels. This can cause problems all over, the primary of which being that you might not know you need to pee until right before it happens because your body can’t read the amount of fluids you’re carrying. If that sounds familiar to you, for example if you often suddenly have an urge to use the bathroom that wasn’t there before, or you have trouble holding it, then this might be the cause of your problem.

Obviously, what this means is that when your body passes fluids into the bladder and it begins to fill up as you sleep, well, you might not have time to wake up before mistakes occur.

If you think this is the probable cause, the best thing to do is to see your doctor. They may test you for a lack of this hormone, and discuss life changes you can make to help manage the problem.

Reason 2: Stress

Just like everything else, stress can be a major contributor when it comes to adult bedwetting. Stress and anxiety affect the efficient running of the human body, and can cause huge issues in hormone production, sleep quality, nerve responses, and more. All things which contribute to bedwetting.

And even worse, once you start wetting the bed, it’s only going to increase your stress levels. After all, no one wants to have to deal with this, especially once they’re supposed to be a responsible, in control adult.

If you do start wetting the bed in a particularly stressful time of life, it could be a sign you need to slow down. The best thing to do is to assess your life, and make changes to reduce your levels of stress, whether that’s a better work life balance, or just taking more time for you.

Reason 3: Constipation

Another topic people love to avoid. Constipation can be a massive factor in bedwetting. It’s completely obvious when you think about it. After all, the bowel and bladder are right next to each other. If the bowels are full, it’s going to put pressure on everything around them. Including your bladder.

And when your bladder is also full, it can lead to unfortunate accidents. Especially if you’re a restless sleeper and you move around a lot.

If you’re having trouble going to the toilet, then make sure you deal with that first. And if you’re regularly constipated, it’s worth looking at long term life changes you can make that will lessen the impact of this problem.

Reason 4: Underlying Medical Issues

Whilst it’s incredibly unlikely, it’s possible that adult bedwetting could be one of the first symptoms for a whole range of underlying problems, including

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney diseases
  • Nerve damage or spinal injuries
  • Prostate or bladder cancer

Bear in mind that, like we said, this is the least likely cause of adult bedwetting. However, if you think there’s no other reason for your bedwetting, or you’re worried about possible health problems, then see a qualified health professional.

What Can You Do About Adult Bedwetting?

The first and best thing you can do is relax. This is a problem that affects a surprising number of people, although you would never realise that to its full extent because most of them are far too embarrassed to talk about it. It’s entirely normal and you can make changes to reduce the impact it has on your life, and it will probably pass with time anyway.

Always Pee Before Bed

First, make sure you empty your bladder before you go to bed. If your body is having trouble with fluid levels and bladder control, having no fluid to pass out is going to minimise the risk of any accidents.

No Liquids Before Bed

Second, try to limit fluid intake in the hour before you go to bed. This is roughly how long it takes your body to pass out any fluids you drink, so minimising fluid intake reduces the amount that will pass through you.

Keep Track

Third, start keeping a night journal. Write down any occurrences of bedwetting, when it happened, how you felt that day, and anything major that strikes you. You might start to see commonalities or underlying reasons behind the issue you hadn’t before.

Consult a Physician

But after all of this, if it continues to be an ongoing problem, the single best thing you can do is go to your doctor. You might feel embarrassed or ashamed, but don’t. This isn’t your fault, and it’s obviously not in your control. Medical professionals are trained to deal with problems like this, and it’s the first step in dealing with the issue.

The Final Word

So, why do adults wet the bed? There’s no need to ask that anymore since you now know it’s a normal occurrence. It happens to a lot of people throughout their lives, and it’s something that generally comes out of nowhere and disappears just as swiftly. As always, take care of yourselves, and if you’ve had any issues with adult bedwetting, or if we’ve missed any tips, let us know in the comments below!

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