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What causes bedwetting and nocturia?


Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, is involuntary urination while asleep after the age at which staying dry at night can be expected. Nocturia is the need to get up to void frequently during the night.

Woman sleeping


Bedwetting and nocturia in adults

Frequent urination at night, as well as bedwetting in adults, usually has different causes than among children. It’s worth noting that among adults, bedwetting is usually called nocturnal enuresis.
 
Frequent urination can mean that the body is producing more urine due to changes in certain hormone production, kidney problems, illness, or due to medication. This can lead to nocturnal enuresis, or it can mean that you have to get up one or several times a night to void, and is then called nocturia. Among the elderly it is normal to have to get up to urinate once or twice a night.
 
Among men, nocturia is usually related to an enlarged prostate. Overactive muscles of the bladder, or underlying health conditions, can however cause frequent urination at night regardless of age and gender. Remember that excessive fluid intake, especially fluids with caffeine, can affect the number of toilet visits.

What causes bedwetting in adults?

As we grow older, our bodies change, and we naturally need to go to the toilet more often than before. Having to go once or twice during the night is, in other words, normal. There are several different causes for this.
 
A younger person can hold up to half a litre of urine, but as we age, this is normally reduced by about half as the bladder muscle becomes less elastic.
 
Another reason for a more pressing urge to urinate as we age has to do with hormonal changes that lower the concentration of the urine. The total amount of urine doesn´t necessarily change, but often more is produced at night.
 
There are also lifestyle-related behaviours that can affect how much you urinate, like drinking large amounts of liquid. Caffeine and alcohol after dinner can also lead to a need to urinate at night.
 
Another factor may be insufficient production of ADH, the antidiuretic hormone which signals the kidneys to decrease the amount of urine produced.
 
The body normally overproduces ADH in order to avoid nocturia but when your body does not produce the appropriate amount of this hormone at night, it leads to high urine production and a frequent need to visit the toilet.
 
Adult bedwetting can also happen when the body does produce enough ADH, but the kidneys do not respond and continue to produce the same amount of urine – medically known as nocturnal polyuria. This abnormality can lead to bedwetting in adults, but is also a symptom related to type I diabetes – so if this is the case, consult a healthcare professional.  
 
Other causes include a smaller than usual bladder capacity, overactive or instable bladder muscles (sometimes caused by bladder irritants such as alcohol and caffeine) and a side effect of medications. 

Is bedwetting a sign of anything?

We’ve already mentioned that kidneys not responding to ADH can potentially be a sign of diabetes I, but any of these medical issues can also cause a frequent need to visit the toilet at night and also bedwetting in adults:
 
• urinary tract infection
• urinary tract stones
• neurological disorders
• anatomical abnormalities
• urinary tract calculi
• prostate cancer or prostate enlargement
• bladder cancer
• obstructive sleep apnea.

How to stop bedwetting in adults

Firstly, you should check that bedwetting is not being caused by medications being taken. Sometimes, a simple change in when you take your medicine can help reduce the side effects, or stopping taking these medications altogether can also help, but it is vital that you talk to your doctor before taking these courses of action.
 
Some medicines and diagnoses connected to nocturia and nocturnal enuresis:
 
• Heart and kidney disorders
• Diabetes
• Diuretic medicines and sedatives
• Over active bladder 
• Urge urinary incontinence
 
High alcohol and caffeine intake can also cause nocturnal enuresis, and can be easily avoided, so limiting intake of these substances and drinking more fluids can lower chances of suffering.
 
When searching for options to help cure bedwetting, it is important to keep track of how often bedwetting occurs, the ratio of dry nights to wet nights, your diet (especially fluids).
 
When you are ready to see a doctor, they will carry out a physical examination, a neurological evaluation and a urinalysis and urine culture to determine the contents of the urine. This may lead to further tests.
 
Our specially formulated night time products, from TENA Lady Mini Night pads with triple protection to TENA Lady Pants NIGHT for even more security, insure that you’re protected all night long.
Depending on the severity of the bedwetting, there are a range of TENA pants available for moderate to heavy bladder leakage in both men and women’s ranges. 

TENA is there for you

In order to establish the cause for nocturnal enuresis and nocturia in adults, you should consult your doctor. Regardless of the cause, or the severity and frequency of your bedwetting problems, we have products to help you live your life as normally as possible.