Why Do Adults Wet the Bed Sometimes?

Why Do Adults Wet the Bed Sometimes?

Most people think that only kids wet their beds which is not entirely true as its something that can affect adults as well. As embarrassing as it is, adults are not always to blame. Older people can wet the bed due to bladder issues, prescription and other medical conditions. However, there are many different ways of fixing this problem.

What Causes Adult Bed Wetting?

Seek medical attention if the bedwetting starts in adulthood. The medical term for this condition is known as nocturnal enuresis. Here are the reasons why adults wet the bed sometimes:

The kidney makes more urine than normal. The ADH hormone in the body signals the kidney to produce less urine and the hormone is usually dormant at night. Adults who wet the bed may not be making enough ADH hormone or the kidneys don’t respond properly to it.

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There’s also a type of diabetes known as diabetes insipidus that affects the levels of ADH causing them to produce more urine.

The bladder doesn’t hold urine. Pee tends to leak when there’s no space in the bladder.

An overactive bladder. Usually, the muscles in the bladder tend to squeeze when you want to pee. For those with overactive bladders, the muscles squeeze often or at inappropriate times.

Prescription. Some drugs usually irritate the bladder like sleeping pills and antipsychotics such as:

  • Risperidone also known as Risperdal
  • Clozapine – Versacloz, Clozaril and Fazaclo

The adult bed wetting issue can also be a result of different conditions that typically affect the body’s ability to hold and store urine. For example, prostrate or bladder cancer, brain and spine diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and seizure disorder can make adults wet the bed sometimes.

Other causes of bedwetting include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Diabetes
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Urinary Tract Infection or stones
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic organ prolapses
  • Blocked Urethra – this is the duct that normally conveys urine out of the body from the bladder
  • An issue with the bladder’s structure or urinary organs

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How Bed Wetting is Diagnosed?

The doctor examines you and asks about your health history and symptoms. Noting down what you feel in a diary will help you answer the questions. Keep a record of things like:

  • The exact time and how often the bedwetting occurs
  • The amount of urine that comes out – whether little or a lot
  • What you drink and the quantity before going to bed
  • Any symptoms you have

The doctor will carry out some tests for diagnosis such as:

Urinalysis – To check the urine sample and look for any infection or urinary tract conditions – this means examining all organs that have anything to do with urine like ureters, urethra, kidneys and bladder.


The urine culture – The doctor will send to the lab a sample of the pee where technicians usually place it in a unique container with nutrients. The test is to ascertain whether the urine has bacteria or yeast. It can also diagnose urinary tract infection.

Uroflowmetry – You urinate in a funnel as it helps measure how fast the urine flows out and the amount you make.

Post-void Urine Measurement – The test helps determine the amount of urine that remains in the bladder after relieving yourself

How to Treat Bed Wetting

The doctor can suggest you make some changes to both your nightly and daily routine like:

Re-training your bladder – Only use the washroom at specific times at night and in the course of the day. Increase the period in between the bathroom visits slowly. For instance, by say 20 minutes. This helps train the bladder to retain more fluid.

Don’t drink anything before going to bed – This helps reduce the amount of urine you make. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they tend to stimulate the bladder.

Set an alarm – Set the alarm at regular intervals at night so that you can wake up and use the bathroom.

Get the bedwetting alarm system – Attach the alarm system to the underwear or on the bed. It will send a signal when you start wetting the bed. You can also use a bedwetting alarm such as Chummie.


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Take medicines – There are drugs that help with bedwetting issues such as desmopressin that reduces the quantity of urine the kidney produces.

Other drugs that help calm an overactive bladder include:

  • Solifenacin (VESIcare)
  • Fesoterodine fumarate
  • Trospium chloride
  • Tolterodine
  • Oxybutynin
  • Imipramine
  • Darifenacin

If all treatments and drugs fail, the doctor can resort to any of the procedures below:

Bladder augmentation – Augmenting the bladder makes it bigger increasing the quantity of urine it holds. It’s done through an operation.

Stimulation of the sacral nerve – This helps calm overactive bladders. The doctor will put a tiny device in your body to alert the nerves at the lower back which in turn controls how the urine flows.

Detrusor myectomy – This operation is major and helps treat overactive bladders. The surgeon will remove a section of the muscles on the bladder or all of them to prevent inappropriate contractions.

Dealing with Bed Wetting

Here are some tips that will come in handy as you try to get the bedwetting problem under control:

  • To keep the mattress dry, put a pad or waterproof cover over it
  • Wear a pad or absorbent underwear to bed
  • Use special lotions and skin cleansing products to prevent skin irritation

If the treatment fails, check with the doctor first before trying another one. Sometimes, you need to try a couple of times to get the perfect solution.

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