Patient Perspective: Ethan's Story. Overcoming Adult Bedwetting

Ethan's Story of Overcoming Adult Bedwetting

I am an adult bed wetter.  Those are hard words to say for a 52 year old man. I first started experiencing nighttime leaks when I was in my teens.  Just once in awhile. I’d laugh it off with my brother.  

But as I grew further into adulthood and it kept happening, I knew it was no longer a laughing matter. I found that the problem worsened when I went away to college and I took great pains to keep it hidden from my roommate.  I dared not buy protection from the stores near my campus for fear of someone seeing me, so I would drive an hour away just to pick up whatever absorbent pads I could find, which usually were not a great fit and didn’t do a lot to protect me.  I put blankets on my bed to absorb the leaks, but they didn’t help mask the odor.  

After college I got my own place, without roommates, so I wouldn’t have to worry so much about them finding out. I finally made the decision to speak to a doctor at age 30 – nearly 14 years after suffering from this problem on and off.  

While I still don’t know the reason I wet the bed, my doctor helped me find resources to manage the condition.  After trying several different absorbent products, I finally found one that fits well and is specific to nighttime use, so I rarely wake up anymore with leaks.  

I’ve also discovered that I’m not the only one out there with this problem – NAFC’s message boards have really helped me connect with others and sharing with them has been such a relief.  After years of embarrassment and isolation, I’m so thankful to have found help and to know that I’m not alone.

Ethan S., San Jose, CA

10 Tips To Control Bedwetting In Children And Adults

10 Tips To Control Bedwetting In Children And Adults

10 Tips To Control Bedwetting In Children And Adults

Bedwetting is a common issue among young children as well as incontinent adolescents and adults. There are many issues that bedwetting can cause, including embarrassment, discomfort and messes. In addition, bedwetting individuals are at risk of damaging their skin by lying in a wet or soiled bed throughout the night. Bedwetting is therefore an issue that must be dealt with properly, rather than accepting it as fact.

With the proper steps, bedwetting occurrences in both children and adult can become less frequent or even stop altogether.

The following 10 tips offer effective ways to stay dry at night.

1. Monitor fluid intake

Although it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid dehydration, which can irritate the bladder, try to limit fluid intake during the last few hours before bed. This will help ensure that the bladder isn’t working too hard during the night, which can lead to bedwetting.

2. Cut back on caffeine.

Caffeine has been found to increase urine production rate, and it is therefore recommended to decrease intake of caffeinated products including coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, energy drinks and cocoa, especially close to bedtime.

3. Use the bathroom before bed

Before going to bed, empty your bladder fully to help avoid nighttime accidents.

4. Ensure easy access to the bathroom

For many bedwetting individuals, it may be a simple issue of getting to the bathroom in time. This problem is especially likely when dealing with young children, disabled or mature adults, as well as mentally impaired individuals.

The following are several tips to provide safer and easier access to toileting at night:

  • Clear the path between the bed and bathroom to avoid tripping or falling

  • Use night lights to help your loved one easily locate the bathroom

  • Install a raised toilet seat to make it easier for adults with mobility issues to use the bathroom independently

  • Provide a bedside commode, urinal or bedpan to give immediate access to bedridden adults or those with limited mobility

5. Monitor bowel movements

Constipation can get in the way of effective bladder voiding, so monitor bowel movements to ensure that your loved one is not suffering unnecessarily. If constipation or irregularity is suspected, speak to your doctor about the best way to relieve this issue and thus help avoid nighttime overflows.

6. Use a bedwetting alarm

Bedwetting alarms are an effective way of training incontinent children as well as adults who have primary enuresis (bedwetting since childhood).

Do not use bedwetting alarms for adults who wet their beds at night due to any of the following issues:

  • Secondary enuresis caused by a disease or condition

  • Degenerative diseases

  • Inability to sense when the bladder is full

  • Physical difficulties getting to the bathroom

Bedwetting alarms sound on detection of urine during the night, which can successfully train adults and children to associate the sensation of a full bladder with getting up to use the bathroom. This method has been proven very effective if used consistently for several weeks.

7. Wearable protection

Until your loved one is trained or cured of their bedwetting issues, you can help keep their skin and their beds comfortably dry throughout the night with wearable protection such as incontinence pads, youth or adult diapers and absorbent underwear, also known as pull-ups. Disposable incontinence products – especially those designed for overnight use – can contain a high amount of liquid and are easily disposed of when soiled.

8. Bedding protection

When wearable protection isn’t sufficient for keeping the linen dry during the night, bed pads can go a long way to protect the part of the bed most likely to get wet or soiled. Purchase cost-efficient and environment-friendly reusable underpads or conveniently disposable bed chucks that offer reliable absorbency and waterproof backing to minimize clean-up after an accident.

9. Mattress protection

Mattress covers and mattress pads won’t keep the bedding dry, but it will protect your mattresses from liquid damage and is an important step to consider if your loved one has bedwetting issues. These products are waterproof and usually easy to wash, and offer reliable protection that will allow for longer mattress life. Keep in mind that although thicker mattress pads do provide better comfort for the user, the thickness also means that washing and drying these pads will take longer.

10. Speak to your doctor

Although bedwetting may be uncomfortable or even embarrassing to discuss, it is important to consult your doctor about your issue. This is crucial because a medical professional can help discover the underlying cause of bedwetting issues, which will make treatment easier and more effective.

Bedwetting can be difficult and frustrating for any caregiver, but it is important to remember the feelings of the incontinent individual as well. Always avoid teasing, blaming and punishing loved ones who suffer from bedwetting issues. Not only will this approach be ineffective, since the problem is out of the child or adult’s control; this may actually make the problem worse. Instead, focus on encouraging and supporting your loved one through this difficult time, and with the help of the above tips, you will be well on the way to dry, stress-free nights becoming the new normal.

About The Author: Hanna Landman lives in New Jersey with her husband and child. She works for AvaCare Medical, an online medical supply store servicing seniors and the homebound across the US. She specializes in adult incontinence solutions and writes for their blog on all topics related to incontinence, caregiving, senior living and more.

Causes Of Adult Bedwetting And How To Manage It

Causes Of Adult Bedwetting And How To Manage It

Causes Of Adult Bedwetting And How To Manage It

A Guest Blog By Christine Pruneau BSN, RAC-CT

Enuresis, or bed-wetting, is commonly associated with children but night time incontinence also affects adults, both young and old. While this can be an embarrassing condition, it is one that can be treated. In many cases, adult bedwetting can be a symptom of another condition, so the first step is determining the root cause. From there, finding ways to manage nighttime leaks can help make you more comfortable as you undergo appropriate treatment.

There are many potential causes of bed-wetting in adults, both young and old:

Causes in younger adults:

  • Diabetes – new or undiagnosed
  • Medication side effects
  • Sleep apnea, or not awakening to the sensation of a full bladder
  • Manufacturing large amount of urine at night
  • Underdeveloped bladder
  • Urinary tract infection or kidney/bladder stones
  • Chronic constipation
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles (mostly females)
  • Neurological disorder or injury

In older adults, causes might also include:

  • Bladder cancer or tumor
  • Prostate cancer or enlargement
  • Overactive bladder
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Dementia

If you are experiencing adult bedwetting, you should speak with a doctor, who will usually start by performing a complete physical examination that includes lab analysis of urine and blood.  A referral to a specialist might be needed where additional tests would be ordered such as an abdominal ultrasound, neurological exam and other urological procedures.

Treatment of bedwetting in adults centers on the root cause.  Many times the incontinence is reversible once the underlying cause is identified.  Determining the origin is often the biggest challenge but definitely worth pursuing.  Until there is a diagnosis and treatment regimen, it is important to keep yourself dry and comfortable during the night.  

There are several options for managing bedwetting: 

Absorbent products. 

Adult protective underwear works wonders in protecting skin, bedding and clothing from urine when the need is moderate. For the best performance of these products, make sure they are the correct size and worn comfortably snug. Protective underwear or briefs are comfortable to wear and are available at drug stores, medical equipment providers and online retailers. In addition, protective bedding, such as waterproof pads and mattress covers can help make cleanup easy in the event there is overnight leakage.

Kegel exercises. 

Pelvic floor strengthening has proven to help adults of all ages with urge incontinence and bedwetting.  A stronger pelvic floor could reduce the number of bedwetting episodes and allow a person to get to the bathroom in time to void.  A physical therapist trained in incontinence care can be very helpful with these exercises.

Here are some other ideas, but patients should speak to their doctor before trying:

Set an alarm to awaken during the night to toilet.  

If the patient is wet before the time of the alarm, set the alarm to an earlier time until finding the ideal hour of the night to toilet.

Watch fluid intake. 

Limiting after-dinner fluids will likely reduce urine production at night.  But PLEASE NOTE: if someone is very physically active into the evening hours, or could become dehydrated for any reason, this would not be recommended.

Prescription Drugs. 

Medications to control incontinence is directed at treating the underlying cause.  In cases where there is urge incontinence, some medications may help to relax the detrusor muscle contractions of the bladder.  This type of incontinence is more common in older adults, but can certainly effect younger and middle-age adults as well.  For those suffering from a lack of vasopressin (a chemical that keeps the body from eliminating too much fluid), Desmopressin is a drug that replaces vasopressin in the body.  This is often associated with diabetes insipidus, brain tumor or head injury.  Careful assessment by a specialist would be in order in this case.

Night time incontinence may differ with younger and older adults but can be treated and managed in most cases. Perseverance and motivation on the part of both patients and providers are key to managing nighttime incontinence.  Know that adult bedwetting is not your fault, and, while it should not be considered normal, it does occur in many people. The good news is that adult bedwetting is something that can be managed with the right tools, and speaking with a physician can help you find the underlying cause and proper treatment.

Christine Pruneau RN, BSN, RAC-CT has 25 years of experience in clinical education for a long term care and home health. She is a frequent speaker on the subject of continence management and has a special interest in restorative health in both adults and children.  Christine is the Clinical Director for Home Care Division at First Quality Healthcare.

Announcing NAFC's New Dry Night Solution Kit: A Treatment Option For Adult Bedwetters

We are thrilled to announce a new offering from NAFC, in partnership with HDIS, for the many adults who struggle with bedwetting.

Over 5,000,000 American adults of all ages experience bedwetting.  This problem can be isolating and embarrassing, and can lead to many frustrated mornings.  Many people with this condition keep it a secret, and struggle with finding the right products or solutions to help them. Fortunately, there’s no reason why anyone should have to wake up wet.  

The new NAFC Dry Night Solution Kit provides education and customized products to fit your specific needs.  When you sign up to get your kit, you’ll get immediate access to educational brochures chock full of great info on what causes bedwetting and what you can do about it.  You’ll also receive a number to call, where you’ll have the chance to speak with a qualified professional who will assemble a custom kit full of products that will help you wake up dry.  

Kits are available for a limited time.  To learn more about the kit, and to order yours, click here.  You’ll then receive an email with access to digital bedwetting brochures, and a phone number and promotion code to use to get your Dry Night Solution Kit.  

Order your kit today!