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What causes bedwetting among adults?

When it comes to embarrassing health topics, bedwetting as an adult rates somewhere among the top five.

It affects your self esteem, your social life (for instance you might not be willing to stay overnight outside of home) and your romantic relationships.

Nocturnal enuresis (the official name of this condition) happens to 1 in 100 adults. If you’re among them – know that it’s not your fault. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed and in many cases can be treated. In some cases it can be a symptom of a serious health issue, so the sooner you work up the courage to book a doctor appointment, the better.

There are actually two types of nocturnal enuresis. If a person has been wetting the bed since being a child and continues to do so into adulthood it’s called Primary Nocturnal Enuresis. The second type, Adult Onset Secondary Enuresis is when the person stopped wetting the bed as a child and started again later in life.

Causes of nocturnal enuresis

The reasons for why some people don’t wake up when then need to pee are not always clear, but there are some known causes of this condition.

It can be genetic. According to one study, if both your parents wet the bed as adults, you are 77% likely to do so as well.

An overactive or unstable bladder, or a bladder that can hold less than a normal amount of urine is another possible cause.

Drinking alcohol or caffeine may make bedwetting more likely especially if a person is already predisposed to it, as can some medicines, or conditions such as UTI (urinary tract infection).

In addition, in some people, their kidneys produce more pee than usual and keep doing so during the night. There is a hormone called ADH whose job is to tell our kidneys to produce less urine at night, enabling us to sleep soundly six to eight consecutive hours. People whose bodies do not produce enough of this hormone may experience bedwetting problems.

Bedwetting might also be a symptom of a much more serious health issue such as diabetes, pelvic organ prolapse, Parkinson’s disease, or even bladder or prostate cancer.

What to do

It’s important to see a doctor if this problem occurs. Especially if a person stopped wetting the bed as a child but started again as an adult, it could be a sign of a serious illness so it’s essential to get evaluated.

Your doctor will suggest changes to your routine to help this problem and will order further tests if needed to check for serious conditions.

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