Bedwetting In Adults: Causes, Effects and Remedies

Adult Bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis is an involuntary release or urine when sleeping, and it affects about two percent of adults. Whereas it is common for children to wet their bed, for adults it is quite embarrassing, and many will not even admit it openly.

For some, nocturnal enuresis is soo embarrassing, and they will not even seek treatment due to fear ruining their image. But, it is a very common problem, and if you have it, you should know that it is not your fault as it can happen to anyone. It is important to understand the causes and the different ways that it can affect you so that you can know how to deal with it.

What Causes Adult Bedwetting​

adult bed wetting

Just like with most other conditions the causes of nocturnal enuresis may vary from one person to the other. For children, it is because they are still not able to control their bladder as they sleep, but for adults, the following are the causes in most instances.

1. Hormonal Causes​

Your body produces an antidiuretic hormone (ADH) when you are sleeping, and its purpose is to slow the production of urine by the kidney. For people who have a bedwetting problem the hormone is not produced in sufficient amounts, and so the kidney still produces excess amounts of urine.

In some instances, the body produces ADH in the required amount, but the kidney does not respond. It is important to keep in mind that this might also be a symptom of both Type I and II Diabetes.​

2. Medications Side Effects​

A significant percentage of adults who have this problem develop it when they start taking medications for different conditions, and it will stop once they finish or discontinue the medicines. All this is because nocturnal enuresis in adults also occurs as a side effect of some kinds of medications such as those for treating hypnotics, insomnia, and psychiatric disorders.

3. Genetics​

Research proves that bedwetting in adults can be hereditary and so if your parents have the problem you have an increased probability of developing it. One study found that a person whose both parents have this condition has more than 77% chance of developing it and if only one of them has it, the chances of also having it are at 40%.

4. Small Bladder Size​

Bedwetting in adults is one of the key indications of a "smaller" bladder. However, a small bladder does not mean that yours is not the same size as others physically. The smallness is in most instances concerning the capacity.

A small functional bladder capacity (FBC) means that yours cannot hold a large volume of urine and so some of it will leak as you sleep once it reaches maximum capacity and hence leading to bedwetting.

5. Underlying Health Issues​

Underlying health issues have also been shown to cause bedwetting in adults with prostate and bladder cancers and diabetes being some of the main ones. Others such as urinary tract infection, neurological disorders, prostate enlargement and obstructive sleep apnea can also lead to nocturnal enuresis.

How It Can Affect You​

The social effects of nocturnal enuresis are most people’s main concern because adults find it very embarrassing and very few will tell anyone. Things become even worse if you sleep with your partner because you will not only find it disturbing but it can also lower your self-esteem because most people view it as a "kid thing."

Some partners might also not understand it and hence end up thinking that you are doing it intentionally. And, this will in turn cause strains in relationships and even lead to marriage breakdowns.​

Nocturnal Enuresis In Adults

Studies over the years also conclude that nocturnal enuresis will affect an individual's choice of job and career, your performance at work and participation in social gatherings and activities. Most adults that have this problem will choose not to go to university, and this is more so if they have to share a room with others due to fear of getting embarrassed. Your sex life is also affected because you will find it hard to share a bed with anybody.

Apart from being a symptom of other conditions, nocturnal enuresis can also affect your health in different ways. Wetting your bed makes it cold, and this will, in turn, affect your sleep meaning that you will not get the vital rest that the body needs.

Lack of enough sleep increases your probability of getting almost any ailment that you can think of including stroke and high blood pressure. This problem will also affect your finances because the chances are that you will spend a lot of money on devices to try and stop it and also on washing and buying new beddings.​

Four Easy Remedies For Adult Bed Wetting​

As embarrassing as bed wetting in adults might seem, it is not your fault, and it is possible to overcome it. The best thing is that there are some very useful remedies that you can use, and they include the following.

benefits of sleeping naked

1. Bladder Training​

Bladder training entails delaying or resisting the urge to urinate when you first experience it. This delay is very helpful for individuals with small bladders and after doing it for a while adults with nocturnal enuresis will start experiencing dry nights.

2. Monitor Your Intake of Fluid​

If you suspect or know that you have a small bladder that cannot hold urine as you sleep, you should be very keen with your fluid intake. Monitor your intake of fluid and limit your beverage consumption to the early part of the day and drink as little as possible in the afternoon and at night. If you do not take a lot of fluid, your body will produce less urine and hence decreasing the likelihood of wetting your bed.

3. Waking​

Set the alarm to wake you up at night for urination. Sleep experts do not recommend interruption of sleep, but it might be the only way to deal with nocturnal enuresis. Once you stop the problem and train your bladder to hold urine for long, you can go back to enjoying your uninterrupted sleep.

4. Avoiding/Limiting Alcohol and Caffeine Intake​

Alcohol and caffeine are bad for sleep, and if you want to enjoy a good night’s rest, you should avoid or limit their intake. Research also shows that they increase the likelihood of bed wetting in adults and those that avoid them will often see a significant reduction in nocturnal enuresis episodes.


The four remedies above will help you deal with the condition, but there are still many others such as using a bedwetting alarm and wearing absorbent briefs. However, it is still a good idea to visit the hospital because a doctor can recommend the best remedies or treatment for the problem.​

  • Jane
  • Updated March 31, 2018

I am Jane Collins, a Founder and a Main Editor of I decided to create this site to share my knowledge, guides and tips to help you to have a good night's sleep.

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