Bed-wetting is usually observed in children until the age of 4 or sometimes even in 7 years old children. This may be due to the inability of the bladder muscles to control micturition. It might also be because the child’s brain-bladder control development is slow. However, bed-wetting is also a phenomenon common in 1-2 percent of adults.
Bed-wetting in adults
Nocturnal enuresis is a condition where individuals urinate during sleep. Most of the adults who face this problem are not ready to accept it as a significant issue. There is no need to worry if this happens accidentally or once a while. However, recurrent and irregular enuresis can be a severe problem. Ignoring this condition may lead to other issues.
The reasons for bed-wetting in adults might vary from person to person. Doctors will diagnose the cause of the nocturnal enuresis and help in the treatment after a thorough examination. The doctor may also prescribe disposable bed pads as it might help during the starting stage of treatment to avoid bed-wetting and sleep disturbances.
Causes of bed-wetting in adults:
There are many reasons for bed-wetting in adults. Some of them are as follows:
Kidneys perform the function of reabsorbing water and filtering waste from the blood. Anti-diuretic Hormone (ADH) is a hormone that regulates the water balance of the body. The ADH signals the kidney to decrease the production of urine during the night. This hormone is produced in more quantity during the night to ensure good sleep and rest the body.
Insufficient production of this hormone may also lead to frequent urination or bed-wetting. If the tests show low production of ADH, then a laboratory-made Anti-Diuretic Hormone -Desmopressin is prescribed to the patient. Other causes like difficulty in sleeping and frequent urination in the day time may add up to the hormonal imbalance.
Issues related to the bladder and its muscles
In some people, the bladder feels full, even at a lower volume of urine. This causes an urge to urinate frequently, making the nights difficult.
The Bladder muscles, called detrusor muscles, relax when the bladder is full and contracts when the bladder is empty. Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a condition where the bladder muscles' contraction is not in control and occurs unknowingly. This might be due to the incoordination of nerve signaling between the brain and the bladder.
Alcohol, caffeine, or some medications can irritate the bladder leading to instability in the muscles that reflects in more urination.
Tumors of the bladder and prostate glands can also contribute to bed-wetting. Thus, cancer can cause obstruction or blockage in the urinary tract, leading to the bladder's inability to hold urine. Hence, doctors may sometimes suggest checks to detect the presence of tumors.
The uncontrolled blood sugars in diabetes patients cause frequent urination. This results from kidneys trying to maintain the sugar levels by pushing out excess water in the form of urine. In Diabetic patients, more urination, i.e., more than 3 liters per day, is observed. And hence, bed-wetting during the night is more common in diabetic patients.
Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder observed mostly in adults where there is a recurrent interruption of breathing in sleep. 7 % of people suffering from sleep apnea have bed-wetting problems. The more the effect of sleep apnea, the higher is the possibility of excessive urination.
Treatment for bed-wetting in adults
- For Hormonal Imbalance, Desmopressin drug might help manage the kidney retention of water levels and control urination. However, it’s best to consult a doctor before taking any medication.
- Bladder training techniques can help in the control of bed-wetting problems.
- The use of disposable bed pads can help to control bed-wetting problems without affecting sleep.
- Setting the alarm for urination during the night can prevent bed-wetting.
- Treatment of cancer, diabetes, and sleep apnea can reduce frequent urination.
- Certain drugs such as Darifenacin, Imipramine, Tolterodine can help calm the overactive bladder muscles.
- Bladder augmentation is an operational process that helps enlarge the bladder and increases the capacity to hold urine.
- Detrusor Myectomy is a surgical process of removing the adjacent parts or muscles around the bladder that causes unusual contraction of the detrusor muscles
- Avoiding drinking water right before bedtime can help reduce the problem to a certain extent.
- Continuous air-way pressure can be a solution for sleep apnea that helps in the decrease of excessive urination.
Many other causes such as medications, genetic disorders, neurological disorders, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, etc. can also lead to frequent urination. The anatomy of the bladder might also be an aspect to be considered for this problem. Some lifestyle changes, use of medications, or surgeries can help tackle this problem. It is advised to consult a doctor for quick diagnosis and treatment.