Bedwetting in adults: More common than you'd think

Bedwetting in adults: More common than you'd think
11 January 2024

Bedwetting in adults: More common than you'd think

At Incontinence Shop, we address the real-life challenges people face with compassion and practical solutions. In this blog post, it's all about adult bedwetting - a less discussed topic that often stays in the shadows.

And whilst it's not exactly a dinnertime conversation, it's no less a reality for many grown adults in the UK alone.

In fact, 1-2% of UK adults experience bedwetting, and whilst this may not sound like a lot, this accounts for around 800,000 people. So it's a reality for many, and there's no shame in looking for support and solutions.

Whether you're personally going through this or supporting a loved one, you've found a safe space for understanding - and addressing - adult bedwetting.

  • What causes bedwetting in adults?
  • How does bedwetting affect adults?
  • How can you treat adult bedwetting?

What causes adult bedwetting?

As distressing as it may be for you or your loved ones, the root causes of adult bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) can be easily understood. Let's unravel some of the common culprits behind adult bedwetting.

Bladder problems (Overactive Bladder)

It's no surprise that the bladder plays an important role in bedwetting. Like any organ, a disruption to this delicate piece of us can have tangible effects on our lives. So, what bladder problems are related to adult bedwetting?

Well, there's overactive bladder (OAB), a result of faulty communication between the brain and bladder. When it comes time to pee and our bladder suddenly feels full, that's our brains sending signals to the bladder that it needs to be emptied.

In the case of OAB, however, these signals become more frequent and urgent, leading to sudden and intense urges to pee.

Overactive bladder is especially problematic at night. During those restorative hours, the brain typically signals the bladder to remain dormant so we can rest uninterrupted. But for those with OAB, these signals go wrong and the bladder muscles may contract unexpectedly, resulting in some unintentional leakage, even when the body should be resting.

Bladder problems (Urinary Incontinence)

Then there's urinary incontinence which comes with its own causes and challenges. Urinary incontinence comes about when the muscles supporting the pelvic floor and sphincter are weakened or damaged.

When these natural gatekeepers lose their strength and resilience, it compromises the bladder's ability to do its part in reliably keeping in urine until we're ready to get rid of it.

And what then?

Well, you probably know the answer: Untimely leaks - even when we're sound asleep.

Urinary incontinence itself has many causes, differing between men and women. For women, childbirth can cause it, whereas with men it can come down to an inflamed prostate.

In either case, the natural ageing process and underlying medical conditions can also contribute to urinary incontinence.

Underlying medical issues

Speaking of underlying medical conditions, adult bedwetting may not be the cause for concern, but rather a symptom of something more serious that needs your attention.

For example, urinary tract stones are small masses that block the natural flow of urine and irritate the urinary tract. This discomfort and irregularity in urine flow may contribute to adult bedwetting.

Elsewhere, neurological disorders might be a catalyst for adult bedwetting. We know that our urge to pee comes from the brain sending the bladder signals to tell it to go. But what happens if a neurological condition like multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson's disrupts this communication? Your bladder control could suffer.

Clearly, adult bedwetting isn't the only symptom of these conditions, so don't immediately panic – it's just something to keep in mind, especially if you have experienced a variety of symptoms linked to these conditions.

Medication side effects

It might surprise you to know that the medication you take (even for entirely different conditions) could be contributing to adult bedwetting. Some medications, particularly those that affect nerve signals and diuretics, can disrupt your body's natural ability to regulate bladder function.

Diuretics, for example, are commonly prescribed for high blood pressure and work to eliminate excess fluid from the body by increasing urine production. Whilst this works for its intended purpose, this increased urine output can sometimes lead to more frequent trips throughout the night, increasing the likelihood of adult bedwetting.

How does bedwetting affect adults?

While you might think adult bedwetting is simply an inconvenience limited to the twilight hours, this couldn't be further from the truth for many people living with it. From socialising to emotional wellbeing, let's take a look at some of the ways in which bedwetting impacts adults.

  • Emotional wellbeing - The stigma associated with bedwetting can lead to anxiety, stress, and overall low wellbeing for many adults dealing with it, not to mention severe embarrassment and shame.
  • Disrupted sleep - Bedwetting can often result in a lower quality of sleep, as well as more frequent waking throughout the night. This can quickly lead to fatigue, irritability and lower overall cognitive function, affecting relationships and work performance.
  • Limited social life - Fear of potential leaks or embarrassment stops many people being as social, affecting their confidence around others and their ability to make or keep meaningful relationships.
  • Intimacy - Adults dealing with bedwetting may fear judgement from their partner, creating emotional barriers between current and future relationships.
  • Professional challenges - For those working or studying outside the home, the impact of bedwetting can be widespread, from odour concerns to logistical challenges around discretion.

How can you treat adult bedwetting?

Whilst adult bedwetting is a distressing topic for people to grasp, fortunately there are various treatment options available that lessen its impact on your confidence and overall quality of life.

Lifestyle changes

This might seem like a small step, but simple lifestyle changes can make a major difference in managing adult bedwetting.

  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol - These can both act as diuretics, increasing urine production and potentially disrupting sleep.
  • Consistent sleep schedule - Our bodies thrive on routine, so establishing a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule will help regulate your body's internal clock. This will promote a more predictable rhythm for your bladder and better quality of sleep. It may even reduce instances of bedwetting.
  • Pelvic floor exercises - These exercises focus on strengthening the muscles responsible for bladder control. Simple contractions and releases (aka Kegel exercises) can be easily incorporated into your daily routine, offering a non-invasive approach to managing bedwetting.

Medication for bladder control

There are a variety of medications that could ease the burden of adult bedwetting.

One specifically - anticholinergic medication - works by calming the bladder muscles and reducing instances of spasms and contractions that could lead to unintentional leakage.

Similarly, if you've found that hormones are contributing to your bedwetting, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could be used to supplement or replace those that the body isn't producing enough of.

Incontinence products

Medication and lifestyle changes can only do so much in managing adult bedwetting. For regular management that ensures comfort, discretion, and maximum absorption, there's nothing better than incontinence products.

From pull-up pants to bed pads, there is a variety of choices available for those living with adult bedwetting that will keep the burden of night time incontinence at bay.

Manage adult bedwetting with confidence with Incontinence Shop

If you're struggling with adult bedwetting and are looking for cost-effective solutions that improve your comfort and dignity, then look no further than disposable bed pads from Incontinence Shop. Our incontinence pads and pants offer reliable protection that minimises discomfort and maximises discretion.

And for prices lower than supermarket costs - even for the most premium brands like TENA and Drylife - Incontinence Shop is the best choice for you.

What's more, if you subscribe to your incontinence product of choice, then you can enjoy 10% off every order as well as convenient doorstep delivery.